7 Purposes Of Retaining Walls On Commercial Properties

A retaining wall, briefly put, is a wall that holds back soil. It’s a simple concept, to be sure, but don’t let its simplicity fool you.

Retaining walls are actually pretty sophisticated pieces of engineering. And they’ve been used since ancient times to improve the usefulness, productivity and aesthetics of many types of property.

Commercial properties, especially, often benefit from the addition of one or more retaining walls. Let’s explore some of the purposes of retaining walls on commercial properties and ways this commercial landscape construction project can enhance the value of your site.

The Purpose Of A Retaining Wall

Retaining wall at Dominy residence in Dublin, Georgia.

Improve Property’s Appearance

With proper materials selection, retaining walls can become a highly attractive aesthetic feature of your property. A curvilinear, architectural retaining wall (above) can look stunning all by itself. Add landscape lighting, appropriate plantings, and perhaps a set of stairs or two, and your property will stand out as something special.

Retaining walls are sometimes installed along driveways and corridors to define the space. They are wonderful devices for creating interest features in a landscape. You have probably seen many upscale entryways that utilize retaining walls to create a raised area for signage or to frame the entrance with raised landscaping beds.

Create A Flat Area

It’s simply a fact: Flat ground is almost always more useful than a steep slope.

A retaining wall can convert a slope into a flat level area. This can allow for the construction of structures that otherwise couldn't be built on such a property, like a parking lot, sports field, or building.

Make A Slope Useful

In many places around the world, whole mountainsides are cut into a series of steps supported by a series of retaining walls. Called terracing, this technique turns land that is too steep to grow crops into useful farm land.

Terracing can prevent erosion on steep areas and make a steep landscape far easier to maintain.Farmers aren’t the only ones to benefit from terracing. You can utilize this technique on your commercial property, too. Terracing can prevent erosion on steep areas, and can make a steep landscape far easier — and less costly — to maintain. Terracing can also be used to transition a grade, or create pedestrian access on a slope.

Take, for example, a project we did for the Georgia Power company on an impoundment of theirs on Lake Sinclair near Milledgeville, GA. The back of the property featured a 40-foot drop to the lakefront. By installing a series of retaining walls we carved the bluff into switchback ramps that allow people to easily access the lakeshore on foot.

Provide Handicapped Accessibility

Retaining walls are often used to create gently sloped ramps for wheelchair access.

Improve Site Drainage

Sometimes a retaining wall can be very useful in directing water on a property. They are also often used to address slope issues near bodies of water.

If you are considering building one for this purpose, be aware that there are many local and state regulations that must be followed. It’s a good idea to find out what the permitting requirements are before even starting to work on the design for such a project.

Hold Back Water

A seawall is a specialized type of retaining wall that separates land from water. Some seawalls — like the one we created for the State of Georgia at the Hugh Gillis Public Fishing Area near East Dublin — are used to improve pedestrian access to the water.

Others function to protect the shore from erosion, to keep the shoreline from shifting, or to create a harbor or docking area for boats.  Don’t forget, though — permitting requirements apply here as well!

Simplify Maintenance

It is a lot easier to maintain a flat area than to have to prune, mow, or plant a slope. They also provide a natural separation between turf and beds. Over time, these easy-care features can shave significant amounts from the cost of landscape maintenance.

Landscape Construction Solutions For All Commercial Property Types

Along walkways and entryways, retaining walls are wonderful devices for creating interest features in a landscape.

In short, retaining walls are incredibly useful devices with a multitude of applications for commercial properties. Where property values are high, the increased value a retaining wall can bring to a property by making unusable land usable can well exceed the cost of construction.

Even when this is not the case, a well-planned and well-built retaining wall can greatly enhance the usability, maintainability, and visual appeal of many types of property.

Do you have a property that is underutilized or hard to maintain due to a slope, or could use a visual boost? Call us at 478-750-7733 or contact us online to discuss possible retaining wall solutions with one of our landscape construction experts!

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Images: Terracing, Retaining wall


Topics: Landscape Construction