When clients come to us with a request for retaining walls, most of the time, it’s never for a “fun” reason. Either they have an existing retaining wall that needs to be repaired, or they’re having water issues in their home. But retaining walls don’t always have to be built for function alone, which is why we wanted to share a few retaining wall ideas and tips with you.
What Is a Retaining Wall?
To put it simply, a retaining wall is a functional piece of stone masonry that is put in place to help solve uneven grading, hills, soil erosion, or stormwater flow issues around a home. Retaining walls can also be purely aesthetic features in a backyard or around a patio.
While a retaining wall is typically put in place during new home or patio builds, you may find yourself wanting to add one to your current home to sculpt or shape your outdoor living space to fit your needs. Retaining walls can be costly to build and install, but they can save you money in the long run when it comes to avoiding water damage.
Do I Need a Retaining Wall?
The short answer is “no,” you don’t need a retaining wall, but it can certainly help eliminate landscaping and water flow headaches down the road.
For example, say you just bought a new home, and you noticed a lot of water runoff during a heavy rainstorm. That water may be running across your patio or along your foundation, slowly deteriorating your structures over time. With a retaining wall in place, you can help reduce or eliminate these issues and save yourself money.
Types of Natural Stone Retaining Walls
If you’ve decided you want to have a retaining wall installed, you’re probably looking for retaining wall ideas or inspiration—otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this blog!
Your retaining wall should withstand the test of time, and the best way to ensure that is to work with a professional stonemason. Over the years, we’ve honed in our skills here at Dutchies Stoneworks on two types of stone retaining walls—dry stack and veneer.
Dry-Stack Retaining Walls
When you use mortar to build a wall, it may seem sturdier, but it often will deteriorate over time. This is due to water breaking down the mortar and often why we need to make repairs to pre-existing retaining walls.
With the dry-stack method, no mortar is involved. Instead, the wall uses the natural strength of the stone to hold it in place over time. Using interlocking natural stone, this type of retaining wall promotes natural drainage to avoid further water damage to the stone.
We use both flat stacking stones and irregular fieldstones (all which come in a variety of colors) to achieve whatever aesthetic you prefer.
Veneer Retaining Walls
Depending on the current setup of your home, sometimes a veneer retaining wall may be the better (and more cost-efficient) option for you.
Using reinforced concrete and a cinderblock base, a veneer retaining wall is still a reliable option for your home, though it’s not solid stone. Once the base is built, there are a variety of stone veneer options you can choose from to have adhered to the concrete wall. The veneers vary in thickness, as well as style, so you can achieve almost any look you’re going for.
Retaining Wall Ideas and Inspiration
Okay, enough chatter—we want to show you some of our favorite retaining walls! Here are a few photos to help inspire your design or to help you guide our stonemasons in the direction you’re looking for.
Need More Retaining Wall Ideas? Dutchies Stoneworks Can Help!
Still looking for more inspiration or info? We understand that your retaining wall needs the right structural support to stand the test of time, which is why we’re ready to work with you to handle your project.
At Dutchies Stoneworks, we specialize in natural stone masonry for a variety of outdoor living projects, not just including retaining walls. Our stonemasons are expert craftsmen who are ready to focus on every detail of your project from start to finish. Whether you need to replace a failing retaining wall or want to add a new wall to support stone stairs, prevent erosion, handle runoff, or just beautify your landscape, we’re here to help!