When we’re working on client sites, we frequently get asked a variety of questions. One of the more common ones is some flavor of ‘My Hyattsville MD backyard floods. Will a retaining wall help the yard drainage?’
It’s easy to see where this question comes from. After all, an unfortunate percentage of properties in the area suffer from drainage issues of one type or another. Not all drainage problems are dire threats, however.
If you have water pooling at quite some distance from any of the buildings on your property, it’s an eyesore. It detracts from the amount of useable space you have to work with, and it can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other bests, but it’s not an existential threat. It still needs to be fixed, of course, but it’s not a direct threat to hearth and home.
On the other hand, if you have water pooling right up next to your house, that’s a major issue. If left unchecked, the water will seep into your foundation where it will cause tremendous amounts of damage leading to staggering repair bills.
Whatever type of flooding issue you’re dealing with and whatever its severity, you may have been wondering if a retaining wall is the way to fix it. If so, you’re in luck. In this piece, we’ll not only answer the question but explore it fully.
My Hyattsville MD Backyard Floods – Will A Retaining Wall Help The Yard Drainage?
The simple answer is yes, most of the time. Unfortunately, that’s not a very satisfying answer because it’s incomplete. The problem lies in the fact that the question doesn’t capture all the facets of the issue, so we’ll explore a little more deeply here.
The first thing to consider is what other landscaping ambitions you have for your property, if any. If your landscape is just how you want it, save for the drainage problems, then there’s nothing to do on this front, but if you want to do other landscaping in addition to solving the current issue, then it pays to take the time to develop a Master Landscape Design Document before any work begins on any front.
If you’ve never heard the term before, a Landscape Design Document is an ordered, prioritized list of all the projects you’d like to undertake. There’s enormous power in having such a list at your fingertips. Among other things, it allows you to:
1) Spot projects that have dependencies.
2) Arrange your list in order of priority and tackle them accordingly.
3) Identify large projects that are too much for your budget to bear all at once, and break them into smaller, more budget-friendly components so you can make steady progress toward your ultimate landscaping goals.
4) And see how all of your ideas mesh together. The hope is that they’ll create a unified, aesthetically pleasing goal, so if you spot something that conflicts with the aesthetic you have in mind, it’s easy enough to make changes before you get to the project in question.
From a practical perspective as it relates to solving your drainage issues, if we know all of the other projects you have in mind, we can design and build the drainage system for your property taking those future endeavors into account.
Another thing that often gets overlooked when phasing the question: ‘My Hyattsville MD backyard floods. Will a retaining wall help the yard drainage?’ is that there are actually a number of different types of retaining walls.
While it’s true that all retaining walls have robust drainage systems built into their design, the particulars vary slightly from one type of wall to the next. Here’s a quick overview of the types of retaining walls we might consider:
Sheet Pile Walls – An ideal choice for a retaining wall that needs to be built in a confined area and provide support for loose soils that shed water fairly quickly. These are usually made of steel or wood plank, and about two thirds of their height are buried, with only the top third visible.
Wooden Walls – Tend to be shorter and usually have about 40% of their height beneath the surface. They feature support beams spaced a minimum of one foot apart and are anchored into the soil itself for additional support.
Gravity Walls – Rely on their mass to hold back the soil and water. These tend to be resource intensive and constructed of heavier materials, being much thicker at the base and gradually thinning out near the top of the wall.
Cantilevered Walls – Structurally similar to gravity walls, but they require less material to construct because they feature a concrete base which extends deep into the soil.
Now that we’ve covered some of the issues related to the central question, let’s talk a bit about exactly how retaining walls can help. They actually perform three different functions, all of them important.
First, they help to smooth out the steeply sloped areas of your property, turning them into terraced spaces which gives you more yard space for planting and outdoor entertaining. Second, they help control erosion. That’s key because over the longer term, erosion problems will make your flooding issues worse.
Finally, the drainage system that’s built into the design of whatever type of retaining wall is the best fit for your property, budget and particular situation will allow you to redirect the water that was formerly pooling in your property to some other location; a drainage ditch or nearby stream perhaps, neatly solving the problem.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to answering the question than first meets the eye, but don’t worry. We’ve been in the business for decades, and no matter how severe your drainage issues might be, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call today.