If you need a retaining wall but not sure what should you select? Should you go for timber or concrete? No one will provide you with an exact answer to this question considering that everyone has different tastes and preferences. Therefore, you will have to consider the two forms of retaining walls and select what matches the needs of your home. To make a better choice, consider the following comparison.

Concrete sleeper retaining walls

The concrete retaining walls are not just bland concrete blocks that do nothing to improve the look of your home. The modern market is offering moulded concrete retaining walls that are stylish, and which will enhance the look of your home. You can furnish the concrete retaining walls if you want. They take textured or smooth appearance and form will create a striking appearance in your garden.

multilevel wall

Timber retaining walls

Timber retaining walls are the most popular possibly due to their appearance. The retaining walls can last for a long time, but only if the user treats them properly. Even though pine retaining walls have stood as the most popular for a long time, you can still go for the hardwood and timber sleepers walls. The retaining walls can be complex or simple. They can feature standing pieces and cap or come as a simple design without ornamentation apart from the natural look of the used timber.

Even though timber might not last for a long time as concrete does, it comes with a natural appearance that will perfectly fit your back or front yard. If professionally treated and installed, timber will last for very many years and will enhance the appearance of your yards. When it comes to longevity, most timber sleepers will last for 15-20 years and you will have to replace them after that.

plywood wall

Choosing between concrete sleepers and timber retaining walls

The first thing to consider when selecting the retaining wall is the visual appeal. And before you choose between wood and timber, you will have to consider the longevity of each. Timber is beautiful, but you should be ready to replace it after 15-20 years. Moreover, some timber sleepers might hold back more soil than others might do.

Concrete retaining walls will outlast any kind of timber retaining walls. The freshly moulded concrete bricks will not need any mortar and a professional builder will install them within a short time. Concrete sleepers retaining walls are considered decorative and are not a good choice for the tall walls, particularly those that hold back a lot of soil. Nevertheless, the sleepers will work great on any wall and offer natural stone appearance. If your goal is to hold back a lot of soil over a higher height, you can install them in steps. Use the steps for plants – they will look better than the tall retaining walls.

At the end of the day, you will be the person to make a decision. Both concrete and timber retaining walls will enhance the appearance of your home; therefore consider the available designs before you select any.

Installation of the retaining walls

Do not try to complete the retaining wall project the DIY way. However, if you would still want to proceed, you can build a wall that is below one meter without the local council’s permission. In some areas, the limit is 600-800 mm. Depending on your location, if the height is beyond the maximum allowed height, you will need the services of a structural engineer for the designing part. Some other applicable regulations include:

  • No water should be directed towards the neighbouring properties
  • A retaining wall should be at least one meter from the sewer or easement or the water main
  • The wall has to be more than 50 meters from the natural water bodies
  • The wall cannot be less than 90 cm from the boundary

The regulations might vary from one local council to the other. Therefore, before you start building a retaining wall, contact them to know what you can do or cannot do. For the construction approval, you will have to lodge the application letter, engage a structural engineer, architect or drafter to draw the plan and hire a building certifier to check the work periodically and ensure that it is built to specifications.

A properly built retaining wall will last for many years. If poorly built, the retaining wall can collapse at any time and cause property damages or severe injuries. Do not try to build a retaining wall the DIY way if it is beyond the allowed height.

Contact the landscaping professionals from NS Landscapes to provide you with the ultimate retaining walls that are tailor-made to suit your home perfectly.