Lawn & Garden

Radio: Retaining Walls

A sloped yard is hard to use, and if it's got erosion problems or it's channeling water toward the foundation of your house, a retaining wall is a good solution.

Listen to ON RETAINING WALLS, or read the text below:

Cutting the foot of a hill back far enough to place a 2- to 3-foot wall can give you several square feet of level ground for a play area or patio.

If you're planning a long wall or cutting back a lot of earth, it's worth renting or hiring a small Bobcat® loader for a day to do the digging. But don't go too far since walls higher than 3 feet often require special permits and are better left to professionals.

There are plenty of interlocking concrete block systems available if you want a uniform look and a simple installation. But there's nothing more classic, durable and beautiful than a dry-laid wall of natural stone. Choose stone that's compatible with any other stone on your property but small enough that you can work with it easily.

It's important to pitch a retaining wall back two inches for every couple of feet of height. That way the weight of the wall will counteract any frost heaving during the winter and keep it from pitching forward.

Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to-or reading-Bob's 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on landscaping, consider:

Retaining Walls with Cultured Stone
Landscaping Made Easy
Landscape Lighting 101