Adding vibrancy and character to your outdoor spaces, softscaping is an essential part of any landscape design. As a key component in creating aesthetically appealing landscapes, understanding the nuances of softscape elements can significantly enhance your home's curb appeal.
Softscape simply means vegetation that is incorporated into a landscape.
This blog post delves into landscaping, providing insights into both hardscape elements and softscape elements. We will explore what constitutes a hardscape and its benefits when incorporated effectively into your landscape design. Furthermore, we'll uncover various softscape elements that play pivotal roles in enhancing the aesthetic appeal.
You'll learn the importance of balancing hard and soft landscapes and the factors influencing their ratio. We also discuss how intended usage and user groups affect layout plans for effective landscape designs.
Maintenance considerations are crucial when planning your space; hence we suggest choosing plant types based on maintenance needs and the pros & cons associated with high-maintenance lawns.
Lastly, you'll get guidance on selecting professional landscape design services to bring out the best in your outdoor spaces through expertly crafted softscaping techniques.
Understanding Hardscape and Softscape
Balance your landscape design by knowing the difference between hardscaping and softscaping. Hardscapes are functional construction elements like stone, pavers, or concrete used for patios, walkways, and retaining walls. Softscapes simply means trees, flowers, shrubs, and grass that add beauty to your landscape.
What are Hardscapes?
Hardscapes are non-living landscaping components, such as brick patios and stone paths. They serve functional purposes while adding aesthetic appeal to your outdoor space. Learn more about hard vs. softscape landscaping.
Benefits of Hardscaping
Elements of Softscape
Plants, including flowers, shrubs, and trees, constitute a softscape. These living elements bring life and color into any yard.
How Softscapes Enhance Aesthetic Appeal
A lush green lawn with colorful flower beds creates a visually appealing environment that enhances curb appeal, making homes look welcoming and attractive.
Balancing Hardscaping with Softscaping
Don't be too hard or soft; find the perfect balance for your outdoor space. Too much hardscaping can make your yard feel like a parking lot, while too much greenery can turn it into a jungle.
The Importance of Finding the Right Balance
Regarding landscaping, the right balance between hardscape and softscape is crucial. A good mix of both creates a visually appealing and functional outdoor space.
Factors to Consider
Before deciding on the ratio of hardscape to softscape, consider your lifestyle, climate, and maintenance capacity. In dry climates, selecting drought-resistant plants can reduce water usage.
Plan Your Landscape Design Like a Pro
Effective planning is key to achieving a balanced landscape. Discuss your space usage with a designer to determine the right mix of hardscape and softscape areas. Whether it's relaxation or recreation, your needs will shape the design.
Intended Usage Shapes Landscape Design
Your outdoor area's intended usage is pivotal in shaping its design. Entertaining guests? Incorporate more patio and seating areas. Prefer quiet afternoons reading under a tree canopy? Focus on soft-scaping elements.
User Groups Impact Layout Plans
Families with young children may require open grassy spaces for playtime, while retirees might prefer serene garden settings with comfortable seating options. Tailor designs to meet individual lifestyle requirements.
Maintenance Tips for Your Outdoor Space
Maintaining your outdoor space is just as important as designing it; the plants and materials you select will determine how much upkeep is required. The plants you choose and the materials used in hardscaping can impact the time and effort needed to keep your yard looking its best.
Choosing Low-Maintenance Plants
Some plants require more care than others. Opt for drought-resistant plants or those that thrive naturally in Kelowna's climate for easy upkeep.
High-Maintenance Lawns: Pros and Cons
A lush green lawn may look great, but it requires significant time investment for mowing, fertilizing, and watering. Consider low-maintenance lawn alternatives, such as clover or native grasses, to reduce upkeep efforts without compromising aesthetics.
Choosing Professional Landscape Design Services
When it comes to achieving a harmonious outdoor space, nothing beats the skill of an experienced professional. Professionals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in blending hardscapes with softscapes, ensuring an aesthetically pleasing result uniquely tailored to your tastes.
Professionals create aesthetically pleasing and low-maintenance yards, avoiding the 'cookie-cutter' designs of DIY projects. This means you get a yard that looks great without requiring excessive upkeep.
Perfecting Your Landscape Aesthetics
The term softscape describes plant life while hardscaping refers to the built material in landscaping.
Balance is key in life, and your outdoor space is no different. Don't have a green thumb? No problem - leave it to the pros to choose the right plants for your space and combine a mix of hard and soft elements to make your backyard shine.
With the right softscape design, your outdoor space can be both beautiful and functional. While a DIY landscape design may be tempting - if you're looking to transform your backyard into a paradise that is equal parts stylish and functional, hiring a landscaping expert will ensure that the job is done correctly and efficiently. If you're ready to hire a landscaping expert, look no further than Kelowna Retaining Walls and get a free quote today!
FAQs in Relation to Softscaping
What is an example of softscaping?
Softscaping includes the living elements in landscaping like flowers, trees, shrubs, and grass, and a well-maintained lawn or a beautiful flower bed are perfect examples of softscaping.
What are the elements of softscaping?
The main elements of softscaping include plants such as trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, soil, mulch, and compost, which are essential for maintaining a healthy and vibrant landscape.
What is the meaning of softscaping?
Softscaping, or "soft landscaping," refers to all biological entities used in landscape design, including plants, trees, and lawns, that add beauty and life to any outdoor space.
Why is a soft landscape important?
A well-designed soft landscape not only enhances property value by improving curb appeal but also provides environmental benefits like erosion control and habitat for wildlife, making it an essential aspect of any outdoor space.
When maximizing the functionality and aesthetics of your outdoor space, a seating wall patio can be a game-changer. These structures enhance the visual appeal and provide practical benefits that many homeowners may overlook.
This blog post delves into what a seat wall is and its dual functionality in controlling erosion while providing extra seating options. We'll discuss how paying attention to optimal height can significantly improve comfort levels for your seating area.
We will explore ways to incorporate seat walls into landscape design - from adding value with overflow seating on patios or near pools, creating defined spaces using rounded walls around part of the patio, to integrating fire pits into bump-outs with surrounding seat walls.
You'll learn about enhancing your seat wall design through lighting incorporation and built-in storage options for wood supplies in hardscaping designs. Finally, we touch upon important considerations when building multiple seat walls and making smart plant choices for landscaping around your seated wall.
This comprehensive guide aims to equip you with all the knowledge needed to transform your outdoor living space by effectively leveraging the potential of patio seating walls.
Understanding Seat Walls and Their Functionality
A seat wall is a short wall that does double duty as a seating area and a way to control erosion. Made from stone, brick, or concrete blocks, seat walls are typically 18-24 inches high, making them the perfect height for comfortable seating.
What is a Seat Wall?
If you need to get more familiar with seat walls, they're low walls built around patios or other hardscape features. Seat walls can be crafted from various materials for visual charm and practicality.
Why Seat Walls are Important
Seat walls serve two important purposes: they help control erosion and provide additional seating space in your outdoor area. Adding both utility and aesthetic value to your yard, seat walls are a smart choice for homeowners.
The Optimal Height for Comfort
When it comes to seat walls, height is crucial. If the wall is too low, it won't be comfortable to sit on, and if it's too high, it defeats the purpose of being a seat. A seat wall's ideal height for comfort is 18-20 inches, providing an aesthetically pleasing and functional addition to any outdoor space.
Adding a seat wall to your outdoor space is a smart investment to increase your property value while providing a functional and stylish seating area. Check out Kelowna Retaining Walls for more information on incorporating seat walls into your landscape design.
TIncorporating Seat Walls into Your Landscape Design
Consider adding seat walls around your patio or pool area when planning your landscape design. They provide overflow seating during events and define different areas within your outdoor living space, creating an intimate multi-room effect.
Adding Value with Overflow Seating on Patios or Near Pools
A seat wall is a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution for accommodating extra guests during gatherings without needing additional furniture.
Creating Defined Spaces Using Rounded Walls Around Part of the Patio
Rounded walls add character and structure to open spaces, helping create cozy corners or separate dining and lounging areas.
Integrating Fire Pits Into Bump-Outs With Surrounding Seat Walls
Integrate a fire pit as part of a bump-out surrounded by seat walls to create a warm focal point that draws people together. The fire pit is attractive while providing heat during cooler evenings - making every gathering memorable regardless of the season.
For more information on fire pits, check out this article.
Enhance Your Seat Wall Design
Adding to your outdoor space's functionality and visual appeal, a well-designed seat wall offers both comfort and style. Consider its function and aesthetic appeal to make the most of it.
Light Up Your Seat Walls
Lighting your seat walls creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, making them more appealing during evening gatherings. It also ensures safety at night by illuminating potential tripping hazards. Check out these landscape lighting ideas for inspiration.
Built-in Storage for Wood Supplies
For wood-burning features like fireplaces or fire pits, built-in storage within the seats could be a practical solution for storing wood supplies without taking up extra room on the patio.
Incorporating these elements into your seat wall design will improve functionality and add visual interest. Your seat wall will become an integral part of your outdoor space, enhancing its beauty and usability.
Important Considerations for Building Multiple Seat Walls
Don't let a sloped property get you down. Multiple retaining walls can control erosion and provide seating areas. But not all walls need to serve as seats - some can address soil retention.
Consider traffic flow when determining the location for the walls that double up as seats. Place them where foot traffic is high, like near your home's barbecue grill or entrance. Avoid secluded corners unless you're creating a quiet retreat spot.
Remember, the topography of your land matters too. Flat areas are ideal for sitting and lounging, while steep slopes may not be comfortable or safe.
Landscaping Your Seated Wall: Practicality Meets Aesthetics
Enhance the beauty of your outdoor space with smart plant choices around your seated wall. But remember to balance practicality with aesthetics.
Choosing the Right Plants for Your Seated Wall
When selecting plants for areas near hardscape structures like seat walls, consider their impact on your space's look and functionality.
Bringing It All Together: Completing Your Ideal Seating Wall Patio
Seating walls are the ultimate outdoor multitaskers - they provide more seating options, control erosion, and add value to your property. When done correctly, they prioritize comfort, provide built-in storage options, include accents like lighting and non-invasive plants, and are built intuitively to avoid backyard traffic jams.
Customize your seating wall patios with well-placed outdoor furniture, attractive flower boxes, a standard 6-foot tall seat wall, or by building a lower seat wall.
Choosing seat walls can be made simple by calling professional landscapers like Kelowna Retaining Walls today to help you build the perfect seating wall patio and transform your property into an inviting, functional, and beautiful oasis.
FAQs in Relation to Seating Wall Patio
What are patio walls called?
Patio walls that provide extra seating are called seat walls or sitting walls.
How high should a patio sitting wall be?
The optimal height for comfort in a patio sitting wall is typically between 18 and 20 inches.
How to build a sitting wall on a patio?
To build a sitting wall, lay a solid foundation, stack concrete blocks, fill gaps with mortar, and finish with capstones.
What is the difference between a retaining wall and a sitting wall?
A retaining wall primarily prevents soil erosion and provides structural support, while a sitting wall serves dual purposes: extra seating space and decorative hardscaping.
Several factors must be considered when choosing between pavers vs concrete for your outdoor space. Comparing pavers vs concrete, both advantages and disadvantages can influence your project's aesthetics, usability, and longevity. This article will provide insight into the various elements of concrete and pavers to help you make an educated decision.
Concrete surfaces can lead to pooling water and poor drainage, especially in areas with heavy rainfall. Permeable pavers are an excellent alternative for better drainage as they allow rainwater to seep back into the ground, reducing runoff and flooding issues.
How Permeable Pavers Improve Stormwater Management
By installing permeable pavers, you can effectively manage stormwater on your property. These individual paving stones feature small gaps between them that let water pass through and infiltrate the ground beneath, preventing standing water or excessive runoff.
Environmental Benefits of Using Permeable Paving Stones
The permeable paving stones used in drainage considerations can help improve stormwater management and provide environmental benefits. However, durability and maintenance are essential when deciding between concrete or pavers for your project.
Durability and Maintenance
While concrete is known for its durability, it can crack under extreme weather conditions or due to ground movement. In contrast, paving stones offer increased flexibility since individual units move independently without causing damage to the entire surface. Additionally, maintenance requirements differ between the two materials:
To ensure the long-lasting performance of your chosen material, consider factors such as climate conditions and proper installation techniques when deciding between concrete pavers vs concrete slabs. Installing pavers is an excellent option for those who want a more flexible and low-maintenance surface. Pavers come in various materials, including natural stone and stamped concrete, and can be used for multiple applications, such as a pool deck or patio. With paver installation, you can replace a single paver rather than an entire slab if damage occurs.
Durability and maintenance are essential when considering concrete and pavers; however, more can be explored regarding aesthetics and design options for creatively enhancing your outdoor space. Aesthetics and design options provide additional opportunities for creativity that can help improve your outdoor space.
Aesthetics and Design Options
Kelowna homeowners often undertake renovation projects for both beauty and utility purposes. Paving stones come in various patterns, styles (smooth, rustic, cobbled), and textures that provide more design options than traditional concrete slabs, which usually have a plain appearance. Some popular paver installations include:
With the variety of natural stone colors, shapes, and sizes available today, homeowners can easily customize their outdoor spaces to reflect their style while adding functionality. Kelowna Retaining Walls offers a range of options for concrete pavers, stamped concrete, and natural stone to suit any design preference.
Aesthetics and Design Options provide an opportunity to create a unique outdoor space that can enhance the curb appeal of any property. With this in mind, it is important to consider repair costs and ease of repairs when deciding between pavers vs concrete.
Repair Costs & Ease of Repairs
Both concrete slabs and paving stones may develop issues over time, requiring repairs. However, fixing damaged pavers is generally easier than repairing cracked or chipped concrete surfaces. This difference affects the long-term costs associated with each material choice.
Common repair scenarios for both materials
Assessing cost-effectiveness when choosing between concrete vs. pavers
Regarding repair costs, replacing individual pavers is more affordable than addressing damage in a typical concrete slab. Furthermore, easier maintenance contributes to long-term savings when paving stones over poured concrete solutions.
Repair costs and ease of repairs are two important factors when choosing between concrete and pavers. Weighing up the benefits and drawbacks of each material, in terms of cost and added value, is essential for making an informed choice.
Value Addition & Cost Comparison
When considering pavers vs concrete, evaluating each material's long-term financial benefits and initial costs is essential. Although paving stones tend to have a higher upfront cost than poured concrete slabs, their low-maintenance nature and enhanced aesthetic value make them an attractive investment option that adds significant worth to your property while offering long-term savings.
When deciding between pavers and concrete slabs, it's important to consider the specific needs of your project. For example, if you're installing pavers, it's important to properly prepare the ground beneath to prevent ground movement and ensure a stable surface. Individual paver installation can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, so factoring in the installation cost is important.
On the other hand, poured concrete slabs are typically less expensive and faster to install than pavers. However, if you're looking for a more decorative option, stamped concrete can look similar to pavers or natural stone at a lower cost per square foot.
Ultimately, deciding between pavers and concrete will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as cost, durability, maintenance, and aesthetics when making your decision.
If you're considering a pool deck, it's important to choose a material that can withstand exposure to water and chemicals. For example, pavers and poured concrete slabs can be suitable for a pool deck, but selecting a non-slip surface is important to prevent accidents.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you with your next project.
Retaining walls in Kelowna are an excellent way to add aesthetic appeal and practicality to any outdoor space. They help prevent soil erosion, and retaining walls provide a great visual contrast in your landscape design.
Whether you're looking for a simple solution or something more complex, there's sure to be the perfect retaining wall option available for your needs in Kelowna. Let's explore the different types of retaining walls, their benefits and cost considerations so that you can make the best decision when installing one.
Types of Retaining Walls in Kelowna
Concrete Block Retaining Walls:
Block retaining walls are a popular choice for homeowners in Kelowna due to their strength and durability. These walls are constructed using concrete blocks designed to resist the pressure of the soil behind them.
The shape of the wall can be tailored to fit any homeowner's needs. Advantages include requiring little maintenance once installed, having a long lifespan, and providing an attractive look when finished. Disadvantages include pricing, which is more expensive than wood retaining walls and difficulty constructing them as the blocks are pretty heavy.
Wood Retaining Walls:
Wood retaining walls offer a natural look. These walls are easier to assemble but won't last as long as a block retaining wall.
They also tend to be less expensive than concrete alternatives while maintaining good stability against soil pressure when adequately maintained. The main disadvantage is that timber tends to rot over time, so these structures will need replacing sooner than any block wall that was correctly installed.
Gabion retaining walls use metal cages filled with rocks or stones for stability against the soil pressure behind them. This type of wall offers great flexibility since it can be constructed in almost any shape desired by the homeowner, making it ideal for creative landscaping designs around properties in Kelowna.
It also requires minimal maintenance once installed compared to other materials like timber which must be regularly stained or painted. The main downside is cost since gabions typically need more labor hours during installation due to filling each cage with stone before construction begins.
In Kelowna, you can discover a range of designs and materials for retaining walls that make it easy to select the ideal choice for your residence. Let's now look at the advantages that come with having a retaining wall put in place in Kelowna.
Types of Retaining Walls in Kelowna
Installing a retaining wall in Kelowna can provide numerous benefits to homeowners, and one of the most apparent advantages is increased property value. A well-constructed, attractive retaining wall can enhance any outdoor space's look and feel while increasing its marketability.
Retaining walls are also great for improving drainage and erosion control, which helps protect your home from potential damage caused by water runoff or soil erosion. Retaining walls can be utilized to craft captivating landscaping designs that provide a pleasing aesthetic to any outdoor space.
Retaining walls can help boost property values in several ways. First, they act as a boundary marker between two properties – this increases privacy and security for both parties involved while simultaneously creating an aesthetically pleasing landscape feature that adds character to the overall design of the area.
Second, installing a retaining wall will make it easier for prospective buyers to envision how their landscaping ideas might work with the existing terrain since there's already an established structure for them to build upon if desired. Lastly, installing a functional yet beautiful retaining wall could be seen as an investment on behalf of current owners; thus making it more likely that they'll receive offers at higher prices than what they originally paid when selling their homes down the line.
Installing a retaining wall in Kelowna can have an advantageous effect on property worth, boosting its marketability and desirability. By installing a retaining wall, you can create an aesthetically pleasing and practical landscape that will add to the value of your property.
A well-constructed retaining wall can also provide additional privacy, making it more desirable to potential buyers. Furthermore, a well-planned wall may yield increased property value returns.
Improved drainage and erosion control are other benefits of installing a retaining wall in Kelowna. The walls help keep soil from eroding due to heavy rains or other water sources such as irrigation systems.
They also act as barriers between areas where water collects during storms, helping prevent flooding in low-lying areas around your property. This makes them especially beneficial for homeowners near rivers or creeks prone to flooding during heavy rainstorms.
Finally, enhanced landscaping design and aesthetics are key advantages of having a retaining wall installed in Kelowna homes and businesses. With careful planning, these structures can add visual interest while providing practical solutions for managing runoff from hilly terrain or steep slopes around your property's perimeter.
Retaining walls of varied dimensions and designs can be customized to one's liking, making it possible for homeowners to fashion picturesque outdoor areas that go well with their existing landscaping elements, like trees, bushes, and flower beds.
Installing a retaining wall in Kelowna can be an excellent investment for homeowners, providing increased property value and improved drainage control. Aside from the value added to a home by installing a retaining wall, budgeting for the cost of such an undertaking should also be taken into account.
Cost Considerations for Installing a Retaining Wall in Kelowna
In Kelowna, constructing a retaining wall necessitates evaluating several financial aspects. First and foremost is the cost of materials, and the material chosen will affect the cost and accessibility. Common materials include concrete blocks, stone, and timber. Depending on your budget and desired aesthetic, you can find something that fits your parameters.
The next consideration is labor costs and availability. Hiring hardscape professionals with experience in building retaining walls is crucial, depending on the complexity of the project at hand. A reputable contractor with competitive rates is important, so you only spend what is necessary for quality workmanship.
Finally, permits and engineering must also be considered when planning a retaining wall installation project in Kelowna, as some projects require approval before construction can begin. Doing your due diligence before starting a project is essential to ensure all the necessary paperwork has been completed and submitted, avoiding potential delays or costs.
Constructing a retaining wall in Kelowna could be an ideal way to enhance the visual appeal and ambiance of your exterior area. With different types, benefits, and cost considerations available for homeowners in the area, it is important to research all aspects before deciding which retaining wall best suits you.
Retaining walls are an investment that will last many years if properly maintained and cared for - making them well worth considering when looking at ways to spruce up your backyard or garden.
For reliable and durable retaining wall solutions in Kelowna, contact Kelowna Retaining Walls today to discuss your project needs. Our experienced team of professionals is ready to provide you with the best possible outcome for any situation.
A retaining wall is one of the most invaluable and versatile tools out of all the landscape devices. They have been used for well over a thousand years now in the construction industry. Many of the gardens and terraces that you see today were constructed using retaining walls. They help improve walking access and can help to turn a property into a very aesthetically pleasing building. Retaining walls can also create some of the best real estates on the market.
You might have to pay a little bit extra for a good retaining wall build, but it is most definitely worth it. They say that you pay for what you get, and retaining walls are notorious for being frequently butchered and of poor quality. You must educate yourself to ensure you are aware of some of the most common retaining wall errors. Below are 5 of some of the most common retaining wall errors that are made and the issues they can cause.
Should You Be Building There?
If a retaining wall is higher than 4 feet, you need a city permit to be able to construct a retaining wall. You need file the soil permit application, engineer drawing and an engineer assurance statement so getting a permit is not always that easy.
The reason the rules are a little bit more strict for a retaining wall is they can often cause more of a hazard to the public and to you as the homeowner. For that reason, walls need to be safe.
Poor Wall Construction
Possibly the most costly error to make of them all. Poor construction of a retaining wall can have completely devastating results, and it often boils down to ignorance. Without the correct planning and implementation, it is impossible to construct a wall that is safe and will last for many years.
All retaining walls must have a sturdy base that is very compacted and a footer that is made correctly for the specific design of the retaining wall. A different technique will be used for the different types of retaining walls that are constructed. When constructing a retaining wall, it is vital to use the right materials with the right tools to get the job done properly.
A retaining wall is only going to be sturdy and durable if the hydrostatic pressure within the wall is sufficiently drained. If not, it will only be a matter of time before the wall breaks. Retaining walls should have a gravel envelope, different outlet points, a subsurface drainage system, and weep drains.
These need to be placed at specific intervals to drain the water properly. Most retaining walls are non-pervious, which means it does not allow a passage for any water. The materials used are usually concrete, brick, brick veneer, and stone. Sometimes a segmented wall is used as it allows more water to flow through due to the dry stacking of the material.
Leaving Collateral Damage
Although retaining walls are great, they do have their faults and so do the people constructing them. A lack of respect for the surrounding area can lead to serious environmental damage to the existing landscape.
Heavy equipment that moves tools and materials back and forth can damage the environment without proper oversight. Heavy machinery, gravel trucks, and even tractors are often also involved in retaining wall builds.
If you have ever seen a retaining wall that is bulging out slightly, it will be due to poor footing and anchoring choices. The right footing determines the success of a retaining wall so, it is essential that the proper type of footing is being used for each retaining wall construction.
Need A Retaining Wall Built Right?
As you can see, there are a few things that can go wrong if you don't know what you are doing when building a retaining wall. If you want a retaining wall built right, the experts at Kelowna Retaining Walls will be more than happy to get the job done for you.
Kelowna Retaining Walls has completed many retaining wall projects in Kelowna and in the Okanagan of various sizes and we would be happy to talk to you today!
Retaining walls are landscaping structures designed to help keep soil in place. They're often made from rocks, concrete blocks, or similar materials. Though these walls are made for practical reasons, when they're properly integrated into the landscaping design, they can also boost how the property looks. This can help increase the property's value and they can be constructed for a reasonable price, even when made from high-quality materials. Learn more now about why a retaining wall is a good idea.
Enhances the Property's Value
Garden retaining walls can be customized to fit the property, improving the overall aesthetics. Retaining walls can be an effective way to make the space around the house more versatile, and if there is a plan to sell soon, it could be a way to help the home sell faster.
Low-Maintenance and Durable
A retaining wall can be a fantastic way to invest in the property, as the materials they're made from can stand up to almost any weather conditions. You won't have to worry about time or money repairing the wall, and there is very little maintenance needed to keep the retaining walls in great shape. Once they're installed, there is very little you'll have to do or worry about.
Retaining walls can withstand heavy weight against them, so they can help hold back water or soil. They can do this for long periods of time, so there's no need to worry about the weather causing the soil to move or the landscaping by the wall being damaged. Retaining walls can also be used to create garden beds or for vertical gardens.
Since there is minimal disruption to the soil, grass, and other vegetation and a reduction in stormwater runoff, retaining walls are an eco-friendly option. The materials used are sustainable, affordable, and will last for many years. They'll also blend in with the natural surroundings, so they won't detract from the view, and provide the perfect place for creating a new garden.
Helps Stop Erosion
Retaining walls are perfect for reducing the potential for erosion. Caused by the weather in the area, erosion can end up ruining the landscape, causing sinkholes, or washing away fertilizers. All of these can be expensive to fix, not to mention difficult and time-consuming. Instead, with a retaining wall, everything is kept in place.
We Offer Landscaping Services and Retaining Walls
Kelowna Retaining Walls is a well regarded retaining walls company in Kelowna, BC and in surrounding communities throughout the Okanagan. We have the right expertise, experience, and resources to help you create and install a retaining wall anywhere on your property. If you've been looking into adding a retaining wall, talk to our team to create a solution customized for your yard and your needs. We make sure the project is done on time and within budget, and we can help you choose the right materials, decide on the right placement for the wall, and more. Contact us today to learn more about retaining walls or to discuss your ideas and see how we can help.
What Is A Retaining Wall?
A retaining wall holds back the earth and creates level ground for a yard or hillside slope. Retaining walls are used for land management purposes or to accomplish a variety of landscaping objectives. The ultimate and primary job of the retaining wall is to create a barrier to hold the soil. A retaining wall is often used to protect against soil erosion or to create a flower bed on level ground. But, there is also a form to the function. A retaining wall will typically also add to the overall look of the landscaping. These walls can create a decoratively pleasing addition to the curb appeal when done well.
Which Kind of Retaining Wall?
A retaining wall is typically one of two basic types of structure. The two kinds are geogrid reinforced and gravity. It's essential to determine which type is necessary to help determine the kind of materials used.
Geogrid Reinforced Retaining Wall
Due to the amount of soil that a retaining wall must hold back, the most challenging jobs must be structurally equipped to withstand the expected amount of pressure. The geogrid utilizes a type of material, similar to netting, laid vertically between the earthen layers. The mesh is incorporated into the earth on the slope and attached to the wall's structure to provide extra support. The result is like having multiple layers rising to the surface at the top of the retaining wall.
The Geogrid style of reinforcement is a specialty method that is only available with walls using certain material options. Because of its additional support, a wall with an expected considerable height should plan for materials that allow for a geogrid construction.
Gravity Retaining Wall
Outside of these conditions that mandate the geogrid construction, most retaining wall builders will opt to use the standard construction method using a gravity retaining wall. The gravity option is the one most commonly used for home and garden projects. They are often shorter, as most homes are built on lots without a severe degree of slope. There is a limit to how tall a gravity wall can be built before it can no longer support itself and the earth. These walls frequently reach an average of around four feet but can be as tall as ten feet if the load is not overly demanding.
Wall Construction Materials
As the retaining wall is factored into the landscaping, designers can get creative with the types of materials used. The walls can have a strictly utilitarian look or one that is limited only by the imagination. The wall can be coordinated with the rest of the overall look of the grounds. Some unconventional materials options include railroad sleepers, natural stones, wall stones, bricks, and various treated woods.
A retaining wall can be made from any number of materials. Some favorites are rocks, boulders, poured concrete, concrete blocks, bricks, or treated wood. These options will vary in price, how they can be used or constructed, how long the material is expected to remain in place, and the amount of maintenance expected.
Pros and Cons
The appearance of the material is not the only factor to consider. There are pros and cons to each of the choices. For example, wood is a commonly selected material for those who want to keep costs down. Wood is also a relatively easy material for the layman constructing a retaining wall. The downside is that the wood breaks down over time and exposure to the elements. It will require maintenance sooner and more frequently than the other options.
Rocks and concrete materials are more formidable against the weather, will require less maintenance, but they may not offer the look the homeowner is interested in achieving. The overall result may be more appropriate for a business than a residential property.
Some stunning retaining walls can be constructed using stones or boulders. The effect will offer natural, lasting beauty, but it won't be cheap. Walls made of stones or boulders may fall a bit short on their ability to serve the practical side, allowing for more water to pass through than the wall intends. Also, the masonry knowledge required for this type of wall is often outside the regular handyman's realm of experience.
A cast-in-place retaining wall, aka a mortared wall, is another option. This option is different because of the method by which the wall is constructed. It will often offer a similar variety and style of materials. Some options for a cast-in-place retaining wall could include veneers, flagstones, or bricks. The uniqueness of these types of selections will frequently result in a highly individualized and custom-finished wall. The downside is that they demand expert construction, which increases the cost significantly. Finally, since these walls are put in place as a solid structure, they are susceptible to damage, such as natural events like earthquakes.
Lastly, there's the segmental retaining wall (SRW). This type is arguably one of the easiest to build. This wall is made up of concrete blocks with an interlocking feature that, when joined together, compiles the expanse of the wall. There's no masonry required, and the blocks are readily affordable. Best of all, they typically endure for decades.
Choosing The Right Material
it is essential to weigh all the pros and cons of each option to select the material best suited for the project. The builder must factor in the price, degree of building difficulty, preferred aesthetic, and how much maintenance can be devoted to the wall once it's in place. Further, the type and volume of soil that the wall will be holding back, the wall's expected height, and what other existing structures may be above the area where the wall is to be constructed are additional considerations.
Constructing a practical and visually pleasing retaining wall can present a challenge. It requires extensive planning and knowledge. If you need an expert to partner with you to avoid any pitfalls with your retaining wall in Kelowna, BC or the Okanagan, Kelowna Retaining Walls is your local retaining wall builders. Our hardscape contractors are ready to help.
Retaining walls are great for stabilizing the hills and soil behind them but they are often not high enough for home security purposes. That is why fences are built on top of them or behind them to provide security. Customers often ask Kelowna Retaining Walls representatives if they can install fences on top of retaining walls themselves. Adding a fence to a retaining wall requires a bit of skill, the proper materials, and considerable time and labor. There are several factors to consider when planning to build a fence on top of a retaining wall.
What is a Retaining Wall?
A retaining wall is a thick wall built to control and retain the soil behind it. Retaining walls can be built of several different materials including poured cement, brick, concrete block or stones.
The objective of building a retaining wall is to stabilize a hill or uneven ground with a strong structure that will last for decades in every kind of weather. The retaining wall will hold back the dirt and rocks behind it, allowing for a nice level landscape in front of it.
Planning This Fence Project
Planning any project is important and can determine its success. There are several considerations for a fencing project in Kelowna, B.C.
1. Does it require city of Kelowna approval?
The first step in a retaining wall and fencing project is to check with the city to learn what their rules and requirements are for this type of project. When the land will be excavated and a general difference in ground level is more than one meter, city approval may be needed.
2. Give notice to neighboring landowners.
Avoid complaints and hard feelings by notifying the neighboring landowners of your project plans. Your retaining wall will affect them in some way. They need a warning about the project so they can be prepared.
3. Will your work affect the neighbor's land?
Any project that involves digging or filling land within 600mm of the property boundary will affect the adjoining land. Excavations traveling downward at a slope from 600mm below the natural ground level is included.
Building your own Fence
First, the retaining wall should be well-designed and properly constructed. The plans should include the addition of a fence. Consideration should be given both to the material used in the retaining wall and the material that will be used for the fence. The retaining wall should be strong enough to support a fence. Keep in mind that the added fence will mean more overturning force when there are strong winds.
The wall and the fence should be strong enough to resist wind and other forces without collapsing. If the wall will have a fence on top of it, there should be properly installed PVC pipes to support the fence. The fence needs enough support to make it strong enough to withstand any force against it and provide the home security that is needed.
Different Fence Installation Plans
There are three different ways to locate and install fences. A fence can be located three feet behind the retaining wall, behind the block, and on top of the wall.
1. 3 feet behind the retaining wall
The most preferred location for a fence is 3 feet behind the wall. This fence location takes the pressure off the wall and allows for a strong fence installation.
2. Behind the block
Fence installation close to the wall block will require professional design and building. The fence must be constructed without damaging the retaining wall structure or support so the top of the wall can resist any forces from the fence.
3. Fences on top of the wall block
Fences located on top of the wall structure are the most challenging of the three fence constructions. The services of an engineer might be required to analyze the wall to make sure its design and strength can support a fence. The wall should be 200-400mm tall for a fence to be built directly on top of it. The fence posts must be embedded in the blocks and secured with concrete for strength and stability.
Building a Fence on an Older Retaining Wall
The wall will need to be inspected and found to be strong enough to support the added fence. If the fence will be behind the wall and require digging for the posts, that digging should be done by hand for minimal damage to the geogrid. The geogrid is the material used to reinforce the soil near the retaining wall.
The ideal location of the fence with an existing retaining wall is three feet behind the wall block. Adding a fence on top of an existing wall block presents challenges for fence installers.
Should You Hire a Professional or Try DIY in Adding a Fence?
The decision to hire a professional to install your new fence or to install the fence yourself depends on several factors. Do you have the required skill and the time to install a fence? Have you ever installed a fence before? The fence design and plan may be more complicated than you can handle. Installing the fence may take a considerable amount of time.
A professional has the tools, training, and experience to install the new fence properly and quickly without damaging the retaining wall. The decision might hinge on the height of the retaining wall and the style of the fence to be installed.
For your retaining wall in Kelowna, BC, give us a call.
Properly planned and constructed retaining walls serve a dual purpose. They add beauty and aesthetic appeal to your landscape while protecting the soil and adding functionality to an outdoor space.
While the concept of retaining walls may sound confusing and technical at first, it is actually one of the most common landscaping elements used on properties around Kelowna, B.C. With retaining walls, it is possible to add new functionality to a property that would be impossible without them.
Today, retaining walls are made from several material options. Some of the most common materials used for construction include wood, natural stone, concrete, and brick. Each option has its own pros and cons, but there is one that stands out from the group: stone pavers. Not only do stone pavers look great, but they can also help extend the life and increase the durability of any retaining wall constructed.
The biggest benefit of using stone pavers for retaining walls rather than wood or concrete is that you have an eco-friendly option that is more durable, chemical-free, and low maintenance.
Keep reading to learn about why paver retaining walls are smarter options for any property and learn about the biggest benefits they provide.
The Impact of Retaining Walls on Erosion
When it comes to practicality, retaining walls provide several layers of protection to a landscape design. The most prevalent of these benefits is helping to prevent flooding issues and erosion.
Maintaining a property’s lawn and landscape requires several steps and processes. Some of these things include pruning and trimming, watering, weed control, and fertilization. When a property owner invests their money, energy, and time in these things, it can be frustrating to see issues related to soil erosion and flooding. In fact, these problems can undo all the hard work that has gone into ensuring a landscape looks great.
When designed properly, retailing walls can deter this issue by redirecting the water during a storm so that damaging pools and puddles are not created around the home or anywhere else on the property. As time passes, erosion will also impact the home’s foundation and weaken the stability of the land that the home is constructed on. This may cause even more issues in the future. If the look of the landscape and property is not a priority, retaining walls can also help to protect the home’s foundation, which makes this a smart investment for any property owner.
In most cases, people consider their lawn the “landscaping” elements of the property, and the retaining wall is a hardscape feature. Using stone pavers for this hardscape feature is a smart option because they create an interlocking design that adds to the functionality and overall appeal of the space. The main design element is the interlocking paver or block design that can be created. With the interlocking paver feature, an extremely durable wall is created, and it provides more protection. Without the retaining wall, or if a subpar material is used, weather can cause serious problems for the landscape.
The Benefits of Using Pavers for Retaining Walls
Now that it is clear why having a retaining wall is so beneficial, it is a good idea to find out why stone pavers are a smart option for the creation of this wall.
With pavers, it is possible to create a more seamless experience when it comes to ensuring the wall blends into the landscape. The look of the yard and property will seem more natural and cohesive. Also, since it is possible to customize the wall’s design when interlocking pavers are used, it is possible to create the look that is desired.
There are several practical benefits offered by using paver for the construction of retaining walls, too.
As you can see, the construction of a retaining wall makes sense for many properties. Contact the professionals at Kelowna Retaining Walls to learn more.
Retaining walls are a principal hardscaping feature of both residential and commercial properties; when considering a retaining wall design, there are many different types of retaining walls, as well as many building materials to choose from.
Choosing the best retaining wall material depends on many factors, including property type, desired design elements, purpose of the wall in terms of functionality, as well as available budget. There is no right or wrong answer to what retaining wall is best due to the unique elements of each individual job, but there are pros and cons that can be examined when it comes to building materials.
In this article, you’ll learn about the pros and cons of the most popular retaining wall materials, then being able to make a decision that makes sense for your specific job, budgetary needs, as well as desired look.
7 Most Common Retaining Wall Materials
Here, we’ll break down the most popular and accessible retaining wall materials and explore the benefits and potential downsides of each one. Kelowna Retaining Walls are varied in material, and as you research these materials, you’ll see that they could each be used, depending on your job type and preferences.
The respective materials include the following:
Stone Veneer is one of the most popular types of retaining wall in terms of design because there are so many possible appearances when it comes to stone veneer retaining walls. In addition, they give off a natural-looking appearance which many people enjoy.
Stone veneers come in a variety of colors and styles, which can be great in terms of freedom and design flexibility. One consideration when choosing this building material is that it should coincide with the stone that is already a part of the property’s design elements; if there isn’t much stone there already, that won’t be a big issue.
The great thing about stone veneers is that they are very solid and can match the purpose of most any job due to a range of thickness and heights. This makes stone veneers a very customizable option for retaining walls.
Stone Veneer Retaining Wall Pros: Customizable, durable, and natural appearance with many options
Stone Veneer Retaining Wall Cons: Requires a strong and well-created design that is typically done by a retaining wall contractor or architect.
Poured concrete offers property owners many design options as well with heightened levels of durability and strength. This type of retaining wall is most favorable in commercial, industrial, and modern landscapes.
While there is a lot of strength that poured concrete retaining walls can hold, they have to be poured correctly and they may crack over time. If the work isn’t done just right, there is a higher chance that your retaining wall will fail, or that there will be a wave or bulge in the retaining wall.
Poured Concrete Retaining Wall Pros: Great for modern, industrial and commercial landscapes, offers durability and high levels of strength when done correctly
Poured Concrete Retaining Wall Cons: Can crack, wave, or bulge; construction must be done exactly right, doesn’t fit all aesthetics
Brick is a classic look for Kelowna Retaining Walls and can give residential and commercial properties more curb appeal. Brick retaining walls are strong, durable, and effective when the proper drainage system is implemented.
The construction of a brick retaining wall requires more labor, however, and proper drainage for a brick retaining wall must be used; if not, the wall will not hold up over time. It can be tedious but will provide a strong and effective structure for a retaining wall in the long run.
Brick Retaining Wall Pros: classic look, curb appeal, durable with high strength levels
Brick Retaining Wall Cons: more labor required for installation, special drainage systems needed
Another fan favorite, concrete blocks can give a natural look and allow for curvature to be added to the landscape in which it is installed. It mirrors classic architectural styles, which can fit the desired aesthetic of many home and property owners.
Concrete blocks, however, are not effective for bigger jobs and won’t be suitable if the retaining wall need is higher than four feet. Depending on the footing and base, the strength may be affected.
Concrete Block Retaining Wall Pros: classic architectural aesthetic, adds curves to landscape
Concrete Block Retaining Wall Cons: only possible for smaller walls, weak footing minimizes strength and durability
Boulder (Dry Stone)
Homeowners that want the ultimate natural look for their property or garden will love the aesthetic provided by a boulder, or dry stone, retaining wall. These suit colonial and country homes perfectly, and it also offers a viable and practical solution when there is a lot of sloping or change in grade.
While these are lovely and natural, there are still some natural issues that plague these retaining walls. Both water flow and drainage can be big problems, which means it could be a nuisance for a property and may eventually fail due to water buildup if a solution isn’t incorporated in the installation.
Boulder (Dry Stone) Retaining Wall Pros: charming, natural look, effective for sloping and grade changes
Boulder (Dry Stone) Retaining Wall Cons: water buildup and water flow pose difficult problems for boulder retaining walls
Great for erosion control, gabion retaining walls are especially popular at properties that are near bodies of water such as the coast, rivers, or lakes; this is great, since the aesthetic also complements these property locations.
Gabion doesn’t require much excavation or land prep and can be a rather affordable option for a retaining wall. Gabion also minimizes environmental impact through recycled materials.
Depending on the weather conditions, however, the wire basket, or the structural formation of the gabion retaining wall, may begin to show signs of rusting, which may not be a desirable aesthetic.
Gabion Retaining Wall Pros: environmentally friendly materials, great for seaside/riverside/lakeside homes, simple installation with little skill required
Gabion Retaining Wall Cons: wire basket (structural encasing) may become rusted and unappealing
Our final material, wood, is another natural choice that can complement pretty much any design aesthetic. The installation of a wood retaining wall is relatively straightforward, giving your property a natural and neutral look.
While wood retaining walls have the potential for a 15-20 year lifespan, there are elements that may minimize it. When installing a wood retaining wall, proper waterproofing must be executed; there are effective wood preservatives that can help with this. If this is not done and the installation isn’t completed with proper materials, your wood retaining wall will be severely limited in terms of lifespan.
It may also rot and isn’t recommended for any retaining wall needs over four feet, just like concrete block retaining walls.
Wood Retaining Wall Pros: easy-to-access materials, simple and natural design, works well with many different property and design types
Wood Retaining Wall Cons: needs waterproofing and wood preservatives, can rot, may not last as long as other retaining walls
Considerations for the Best Retaining Wall
The best retaining wall isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. When you choose the best retaining wall, you must carefully weigh your options according to your job type, desired design elements, as well as your available budget. When you find the perfect mix of these three elements, you have discovered your definition of “the perfect retaining wall.”
Here is a bit more about each of these three considerations.
It’s vital that you take into account the size of your job, the purpose of the retaining wall, and the location that it will be installed.
Retaining walls all hold up differently depending on the conditions and the purpose, so having these factors clearly defined when working with a retaining wall contractor can make things much easier in terms of choosing the best material for your job and design.
Desired Design Elements
Speaking of design, you should have some general idea about what type of aesthetic you’d like your retaining wall to have and how your contractor can help you achieve it. Ultimately, job type should win over desired design elements simply because the job type can affect the durability and lifespan of your retaining wall more than design elements can.
If you choose simply based on design alone, you may find yourself with a failed retaining wall or one that needs repairs later down the line.
Of course, the deciding factor for your retaining wall may be your budget. There are many different elements that can affect the cost of your retaining wall, including location, design (curves, steps, sloping, additional elements), soils, and material cost, to name a few.
The best thing you can do is have a clear picture in terms of what you need for your job type as well as what you’d like in terms of design, and then create a budget window that you can discuss with your retaining wall contractor. Think about which elements are must-haves for you, and which ones have some room for negotiation or leeway.
Final Thoughts: Best Type of Retaining Wall
All in all, there’s no blanket response for which type of retaining wall is best, but with careful considerations of your job type, design elements, and budget, you can work with an expert retaining wall contractor to find the perfect retaining wall for you and your property.
Ready to discuss your retaining wall job? Contact Kelowna Retaining Walls today and we’ll be happy to partner with you to make your dream retaining wall a reality! As the retaining wall contractors in Kelowna, we have the expertise needed to ensure your retaining wall is installed to the highest caliber and quality for optimal durability and lifespan.