My Wheaton MD backyard floods. Will a retaining wall help the yard drainage? That, or questions very similar to it, is something we get asked on a fairly regular basis from the clients we serve. Unfortunately, a fair percentage of properties in the area suffer from drainage issues of one kind or another, so it’s easy to see where the question comes from.
After all, even if you’ve got water pooling at what you consider to be a safe distance from your house or other buildings on your property, it’s still a problem and still an eyesore that detracts from the amount of yard space you can use on a regular basis.
More troubling though, is when the water is pooling right up next to your house. If that’s the case, and you don’t take decisive action immediately, it will seep into your foundation where it will cause considerable damage, leaving you with staggering repair bills.
Whatever sort of drainage issues you’re having, if the question above has been on your mind, you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll not only answer the question, but explore some related issues that surround it. Let’s take a closer look!
My Wheaton MD Backyard Floods – Will A Retaining Wall Help The Yard Drainage?
The direct answer to the question above is yes, but…
Yes. In the overwhelming majority of cases, a well-placed retaining wall can play a pivotal role in solving whatever drainage issues you’re having, but there are more factors to consider than just that.
The first consideration is this: Do you plan to do any other landscaping on your property, besides solving for your drainage issues? If so, then before we get to work on that problem, it pays to take the time to create a Master Landscaping Design document.
Don’t let the fancy sounding name throw you off. In its simplest form, it’s just a document you use to capture all of your landscaping ambitions in a single location. The real value though, is what such a document allows you to do. You can:
1) Spot projects that have dependencies, and arrange your list of landscaping goals in order of priority.
2) Identify projects that are too big for your budget, and break them into smaller components that will allow you to steadily advance through your list of landscaping goals.
3) And view all of your landscaping plans as a cohesive whole, which will allow you to make sure that all the pieces form an aesthetically pleasing whole. It’s much better to find that out on paper before you start building, because if one element clashes with others and you build it, you’ll spend money you don’t need to!
This document has another important benefit as well. If we know what your other landscaping ambitions are, we can take them into account and plan around them as we design and build the solution to your drainage issues.
Another thing that many people don’t realize is that there are actually several different types of retaining walls. They are all broadly similar, sure, but there are also some key differences between them. Here’s a quick overview:
Wooden Walls – These types are retaining walls are among the most common. Once you start thinking about adding one to your property, you’ll start noticing them all over the place.
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.
Which one is right for your property depends on a number of factors including your personal preferences of course, your budget, and the particulars of your land and the composition of your soil.
How Retaining Walls Help Solve Your Drainage Problems
Now, let’s get down to the particulars. Retaining walls, whatever type you build, provide a number of benefits to you that work together to solve your drainage issues.
First and foremost, it turns those annoying steeply slopes areas of your yard into flat terraced spaces you can use for outdoor entertaining or planting. Not only does this give your more usable space overall, but it helps combat erosion. That’s a very good thing because long term, erosion will only serve to make your drainage problems worse.
Second, anything you plant behind the wall on the terraced space will help to develop a more robust root structure, which will also serve to keep the soil firmly in place.
Finally though, every properly constructed retaining wall has a robust drainage system built in. This is what actually diverts the water. Where it goes is ultimately up to you. We can send it to a drainage ditch on the edge of your property, into a stream if you have one, or we can divert it to a dry well or swale. The sky’s the limit where that’s concerned.
As you can see then, the answer to the question ‘My Wheaton MD backyard floods. Will a retaining wall help the yard drainage?’ is a little more complex than it first appears, but at the end of the day, yes. A retaining wall can absolutely play a major role in solving your issue.