One of the more common questions we get from the clients we serve has to do with drainage problems on their property. It’s usually some variant of: ‘My Gaithersburg MD backyard floods, will a retaining wall help the yard drainage?’
We love questions like these because it shows that our clients are proactive and interested in getting out in front of drainage issues and we’re always happy to not only answer client questions but work with them to create innovative, effective solutions.
The question is an important one because even if the water pooling in your yard after it rains is a safe distance from your home or outbuildings, it’s still an eyesore that detracts from the amount of usable space you have for planting or entertaining.
If you have a similar problem and have been wondering the same thing, you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll explore that issue further!
My Gaithersburg MD Backyard Floods – Will A Retaining Wall Help The Yard Drainage?
The short answer is yes, in the vast majority of cases, a well-placed retaining wall is an important element in solving drainage issues, but there’s more to the story than just that.
First and foremost, many people don’t realize it but there are actually a number of different types of retaining walls, so depending on your needs and the particulars of your situation, we might recommend building one type over another. Here’s a quick overview of the different types of retaining walls we can utilize:
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.
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 – These are the most common types of retaining walls and what most people tend to think of when they hear the term. Generally, they’re relatively short and 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.
How Retaining Walls Help Solve The Problem
First and most obviously, the retaining wall holds back the soil and the water. When it rains, it won’t be able to get past that barrier, but there’s more to it than that. Retaining walls also help to smooth out steeply sloping areas of your property, turning them into terraced spaces you can use for planting or outdoor entertaining.
Anything you plant on the terraced space will put down roots, which will help keep the soil in place, in addition to the protection offered by the wall itself, putting an end to any erosion issues you might be having.
As for the water, all properly constructed retaining walls come with robust drainage systems that redirect the water, diverting it to a location where it won’t do any harm. There are all sorts of possibilities on this front, so mostly it depends on your budget and your personal preferences.
In simplest form, the question becomes, ‘what do you want to do with the water?’ Here are a few of the possibilities:
- If your other landscaping ambitions include the creation of a decorative pond on your property, we can divert the water there via a French drain, feeding the pond.
- If you have a drainage ditch on the periphery of your property, we can send the water there.
- Is there a stream running through, or immediately adjacent to your property? If so, that’s another simple, effective option.
- If none of those work for you, then perhaps something like a swale or a dry well would be more appropriate?
There are tons of options and possibilities here, and we’re more than happy to work with you to find the solution that works best for you. There’s another important angle to consider though: What other landscaping do you want to do on your property, if any?
If you do have other landscaping ambitions in mind, then before we build a retaining wall and drainage system, it pays to press pause long enough to develop a Master Landscape Design document.
Don’t let the fancy sounding name fool you. Essentially, it’s an ordered, organized list of all the landscaping projects you’d like to undertake. By having access to a high-level view of your overall landscaping goals, we can take those goals into account when building the wall and drainage system, ensuring that those elements don’t run afoul of or work at cross purposes to other initiatives you have planned.
As you can see then, the question ‘My Gaithersburg MD backyard floods, will a retaining wall help the yard drainage?’ actually unlocks a whole host of other related issues, making it more complex than it might first appear.
The bottom line though, is simply this: Whatever your landscaping goals, ambitions and needs are, from fixing simple drainage issues to completely transforming your yard, we’ve got you covered. When you’re ready to get started, just give our office a call.