Whether you’ve just had a new retaining wall installed on your property, or one was already installed when you purchased the home, you’re probably wondering what types of maintenance the wall requires. It’s not uncommon to see retaining walls that are leaning or rotating, especially in residential neighborhoods where DIY projects are common. Rest assured that when a retaining wall is built correctly, it will last a lifetime.
That being said, maintenance will add years onto the structure and keep it looking beautiful. Fortunately, retaining walls are low maintenance, aside from a basic checkup in the spring. This will allow you to check the integrity of the wall, identify potential problems and clean out weed growth. Let’s take a look at the simple maintenance that will give your retaining wall extra life.
Weeds and moss can grow in between the pavers in a stackable retaining wall, so it’s a smart idea to check the wall from time to time to ensure it’s free of weeds. One weed can quickly multiply into many, so if you see them, pull them out. Or, you may spray the retaining wall annually with a weed killer.
Identify Settling Problems
Retaining walls built by a professional should stand the test of time. But, if the previous homeowners installed the retaining wall incorrectly, it’s possible that drainage or erosion problems can cause the retaining wall to move. Minor settling can even occur after a professional installation.
As long as the problem isn’t major, minor settling won’t hurt the integrity of the wall. But, you can unstack the blocks in that particular area, raise the settled spot and restack the blocks. You should call a professional if you notice that the wall is bulging or rotating, as this could indicate a more serious underlying problem.
Retaining walls have a practical purpose, but they also define space and add character. Take the time to landscape around the retaining walls, but make sure you do so smartly. You can’t plant trees with aggressive spreading roots near the wall, otherwise it will cause damage to the structure. Stick to low maintenance flowers, plants and bushes with slow-growing roots. Also avoid deicers that could cause damage to the pavers in the wintertime.
These small steps will keep your retaining wall in excellent condition and allow it to last a lifetime!