We get lots of great questions from the clients we work with. One of the more common is some variant of ‘My College Park MD backyard floods, will a retaining wall help the yard drainage?’
Unfortunately, many properties in the area suffer from drainage issues of one sort or another. They can range in severity from minor annoyances to dire threats to hearth and home, but whatever the severity, it’s a legitimate problem so it’s easy to see where the question comes from. After all, even if you’ve got water pooling at a ‘safe’ distance from your home or outbuildings, it’s still an eyesore that detracts from the amount of usable yard space you have, and it could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests.
If you’re suffering similar problems and have been wondering much the same thing, this article will answer that question, and more. Let’s take a closer look at the issue.
My College Park MD Backyard Floods – Will A Retaining Wall Help The Yard Drainage?
The short answer to the question is yes – in most cases, a retaining wall is an excellent way to help deal with drainage issue. That simple answer though, doesn’t capture the complexities of the issue. Although solving for whatever drainage issues you’re having is important, it’s also important that as we do that, we don’t muck up or interfere with whatever other landscaping plans you may have, so, the question: Do you have other landscaping you’d like to do?
If you do, then it pays to press pause on the drainage issue solution long enough to take the time to develop a Master Landscaping Design document. Don’t let the fancy name fool you. At the root, it’s a prioritized list of all the landscaping projects you’d like to undertake.
If the thought of sitting down, creating the list and properly prioritizing everything seems a little daunting to you, we can help with that too, and once we have a clear, high-level view of everything you’d like to accomplish, we’ll be able to take those other projects into account and plan around them to make sure the work we do to solve your drainage issue doesn’t interfere with your future projects.
It’s also worth mentioning that the question ‘my College Park MD backyard floods, will a retaining wall help the yard drainage?’ doesn’t take into account the fact that there are actually a number of different types of retaining walls we can build. Most people don’t know that, but depending on your needs, budget and the particulars of your property, one type of retaining wall might be a better fit than some other. Just to give you a quick overview, here are the possibilities:
Wooden Walls – These types are retaining walls are incredibly common. Once you start thinking about adding a retaining wall on your own property, you’ll start seeing them just about everywhere.
They tend to be somewhat shorter than other types of retaining walls, 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.
Sheet Pile Walls – This type of retaining wall is an ideal choice if your wall needs to be built in a confined area and provide support for loose soils that shed water fairly quickly. They’re almost always made from steel or wood plank, and about two thirds of their height are buried, with only the top third visible.
Gravity Walls – The largest type of retaining wall, these hefty structures rely on sheer 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.
How Retaining Walls Help Solve Drainage Issues
This brief overview in hand, let’s talk a little bit about how retaining walls help solve the problems we’ve been talking about so far. First and foremost, drainage issues aren’t just about drainage. They’re also about erosion, which, over time will make the flooding problems you’re experiencing even worse.
Erosion problems are worst in areas of your property that are steeply sloped. By building a well-placed retaining wall, we can smooth out those steep slopes by created terraced spaces, which has the happy side effect of giving you more usable yard space to work with. You can use it for planting, outdoor entertaining, or anything else that strikes your fancy.
When it rains, the mass of the wall will physically hold back the soil and water, and any planting you do on the terrace will help build a healthy root structure that will help keep the soil even more firmly in place.
All properly constructed retaining walls also have robust drainage systems which we can use to redirect the water, so then it becomes a matter of deciding where you want it to go. There are all sorts of possibilities here, so mostly this comes down to your budget and your personal preferences. You could, for example, route the water to:
- A drainage ditch on the edge of your property
- A nearby stream
- Or even a decorative pond if you decide you want to add one.
We’ll be more than happy to make a professional recommendation and work with you to find the ideal solution. If that sounds good to you, give our office a call when you’re ready to begin!