Stone Retaining Walls: Three Crucial Guidelines for Preparing the Ground

Posted on: 23 February 2018

If you are planning on incorporating a retaining wall in your property, you should think about building a natural stone wall. Natural stones have unique but authentic appeal which blends in with the natural landscape. Moreover, these materials are tough and can withstand adverse climatic conditions. However, it is important to note that the integrity of the retaining wall will depend on the quality of installation, particularly the foundation. If the base of your wall is not strong enough, your stacked stones will topple once exposed to high pressure. Here are some practical guidelines on preparing the ground for a long-lasting stone retaining wall.

Make a Deep and Wide Trench

You should plan for excavation during your retaining wall construction project. In general, the natural stones will be less prone to instability if the base is correctly supported. Ideally, you should dig a wide trench to accommodate your stones. You should also have some extra space so that you will be able to perform installations easily. Your trench should be quite deep. You should ensure that its depth can accommodate base material as well as a course of your stones. In addition, you should make sure that ground is level after excavation.

Compact the Soil

You must compact the soil in your trench before proceeding with other retaining wall installation tasks. In general, natural soil is loose and has air spaces in between the particles. Unfortunately, these properties are detrimental for construction. Typically, when the local area rains, the soil will become wet, and it will shift. If your retaining wall is established on this unstable soil, its stability will be compromised and the stone walling could fail. Therefore, you should compact the soil to minimise and prevent the instabilities. You can use a hand tamper for the task if the area is not small. However, you should consider hiring a vibrating plate compactor for efficiency and ideal results.

Pour the Base Material

Once the ground is compacted, you will need to place the base material for the retaining wall. You can choose naturally-occurring gravel or crushed stones for your project. Both materials will provide an acceptable foundation with good drainage. However, crushed stones are more favourable. The sharp angular stones will interlock well, reducing the need for a lot of compacting. You should not use rounded stones because they will not form good bonds for a strong base. When purchasing your stones, you should remember to purchase extra for backfilling the trench after laying the natural stone walling.