Choosing the right material for your Bexley, OH landscape’s retaining walls can play an important role in the functionality and aesthetics of your yard. Concrete blocks and natural stone are two of the most popular materials for retaining wall construction. Both materials feature prosand cons, with the final decision dependent on the aesthetic design of your landscape, your budget, and the strength requirement of the wall.
The traditional option for retaining walls, natural stone is a durable and beautiful material. Granite, flagstone, fieldstone, and sandstone are popular variants of natural stone used for retaining walls. Natural stone is typically used in smaller retaining walls of 3 to 4 feet, and is incorporated in a stacked fashion, giving it a rustic appearance. The typically higher cost of the material, as well as a lower level of stability, makes it more suitable for smaller walls. Because of this, assembling a natural stone wall requires the expertise of a skilled contractor. The variations in shapes and textures of the stone involve great attention to detail in figuring out which pieces will interlock well together, and can often require cutting and shaping. The lower height also accounts for minimal or no mortar typically used in the construction of natural stone walls. This makes the structure less strong and reduces its load-bearing capability.
The tradeoff for the higher complexity and cost associated with natural stone is its highly desirable and beautiful aesthetics. Natural stone has a charm that works especially well in traditional landscape designs, and can be quite appealing in modern landscapes as well. The variations in color and textures are often excellent for introducing visual interest to the landscape.
Concrete is perhaps the most popular option for retaining walls and is utilized in the form of poured concrete, as well as interlocking concrete units. Both forms offer unmatched convenience in installation, with none of the complicated stacking associated with natural stone. This also helps to keep the cost down, which is a big advantage over natural stone.
Concrete is also typically favored for larger, more robust retaining walls designed to hold back large volumes of soil. Poured concrete and interlocking concrete wall units are excellent for this application. The lower cost of the material is also an important consideration for larger walls, as larger walls will generally require deeper foundations, which can push up the budget for the wall.
Concrete has come a long way from the bland aesthetics that it has been traditionally associated with. Poured concrete is still generally used in a functional sense, although there is the option of stone veneer for adding texture and colors. Concrete wall units are more versatile, available in a wide range of patterns, colors, and textures. Modern interlocking wall units also do an excellent job of mimicking natural stone. You can give your wall the weathered visage of sandstone or limestone, or go with the clean, minimalist lines of finely cut granite. Moreover, you have the freedom of experimenting with different stacking arrangements.
The cost saving, versatile designs, and strength of concrete makes it an excellent material for most retaining wall applications. However, the sheer natural beauty of natural stone is hard to beat for smaller retaining walls.