A retaining wall is a great way to beautify your garden setting and it is relatively easy to do. A retaining wall will contain a certain amount of effort and care though. A retaining wall must be built to withstand the pressure of a great weight of soil, as well as allow for proper drainage.
Retaining walls are normally built from stone, either rubble or dressed. This is popular because it will blend into you setting. You can have a dry wall or mortar construction done. Dry wall will use earth as a filler between stones, while mortar uses cement as a bonding agent.
A retaining wall must have its base sunk below the frost line. In the Northern US, this constitutes about 6 inches deep. For a flat wall with no buttresses or projections, the width of the base should equal one-fourth the height of the wall. The wall can taper to a width of about one-fourth of the width of the base.
For a buttress wall, the base needs to be one-fourth as wide as it is tall, as the widest points. In the more narrow areas, the base can be slimmer in proportion.
It is not recommended, but for dry-wall construction, the base can be placed at ground level, and not be sunken down below the first line. Choose local stone to construct the dry wall, choosing large stones for the wall, and small stones for the chinks, this is the most inexpensive way to create the retaining wall.
Make sure the sides of the wall that face out are completely level, with no obstructions or edges stocking out. This will make the wall appear better, but it will do a better job of retaining the soil as well. Do not use stones with rounded surfaces, as these do not form stable walls.
Stones need to be bonded well, referring to the edges of the stones on one level, should overlap the level below. If a stone is crooked or is not fitting in firmly, use earth to pack the stone to improve the bond. There should be no crevices left.
The wall needs to slope back against the soil it retains to have a greater strength. The width of the wall must be one-third the height. It may even be considered to make the slope of the wall 5 or 6 inches for every vertical foot. Soil needs to be packed firmly into all pockets, to make sure it is strong and retains the soil.