Retaining walls are a common feature in Australian gardens. But there are certain things you have to put in mind before installing one on your property. You have to choose the person to install the wall on your property wisely. Retaining walls apart from changing the look of your property also holds a lot of pressure and must have adequate drainage. That is why it is important to ensure that you have the right designer to withstand all the pressure and serve you well.
Understand the Retaining Wall First
A retaining wall is built purposely to prevent massive soil or any other materials behind it. There are several retaining walls depending on what they are built to do. You may not need a professional to erect a low garden retaining wall like a flower bed in a less sloppy area. However, if the wall is in a more sloppy area, you need an engineer to erect a wall to withstand the pressure.
When designing a wall, it is important to consider gravity to design the right wall to hold soil mass behind it. For instance, a gravity retaining wall uses gravity and should slope towards the mass of sol behind it. It should be built in a way that makes it easy to hold the soil. For that reason, it should be slanted at an angle between six to twelve degrees, depending on the slope. Such a retaining wall is referred to as a setback. A reinforced retaining wall is built with several geogrid layers, a soil reinforcing material built to hold a large soil behind the wall.
When building the retaining wall, it is paramount to consider the slope of the land in front of the wall. That is why you need an engineer to determine the retaining wall you need if you are building it in a sloppy area. If you install the wall without designing it properly, it will collapse due to the massive weight it has to hold.
What are the Regulations for Building a Retaining Wall?
Retaining walls in Australia are built according to the council regulations that provide the height above to seek council approval. Building a retaining wall in some areas like New South Wales requires approval for anything above 600 mm in height. In other states, you have to seek approval for anything above one metre.
Council Requirements for Building a Retaining Wall
The council requires that when building a retaining wall, you must meet certain requirements stated as follows:
- Obtain a building permit for anything above 600mm in New South Wales and above one metre for the other states.
- You need a structural engineer to design your retaining wall before seeking approval from the council. That is because the higher the wall, the more danger it poses.
- You need an engineer to design your retaining wall if you are building it near a boundary or nearby catchment areas.
When you are designing a retaining wall, you may choose to work with a structural engineer depending on the complexity involved. They are qualified in structural, and civil geotechnical engineering, and they can design your retaining wall. A landscape designer or an architect can also design your wall if you want something more decorative.
All you have to confirm is that they have the right qualifications, experience or contacts with the right designers before hiring them. Also, it is important to have a rough idea about the materials to use and the approximate prices before you begin the process.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions About Retaining Walls:
How Deep Should Your Retaining Wall Be?
- The footing of your retaining wall should be based on the height that you want and the materials you use for building it. When building gabions, you may not bother so much with the footing, but other materials may need to have a footing of one-third of their total height deep in the soil.
What Angle is the Best for Your Retaining Wall?
- The angle depends on the height and the building technology, but gravity walls should have an angle between six to twelve degrees.
What are the Different Types of Retaining Walls?
- Retaining walls can be in different sizes, shapes and types. The common materials include cement, stone, and timber, and you can make them in different shapes.
What Type of Retaining Wall is the Cheapest?
- If you want the cheapest retaining wall, you can use pine as it is not very expensive. However, you should know that it will also not serve you for long.