Retaining Wall Solutions For Sloped Properties in Seattle WA
We specialize in building beautiful and functional retaining walls.
Retaining walls are a great way to enhance both the look and function of your landscaping. Commonly used as a solution for sloping and uneven properties, retaining walls let you carve out functional outdoor spaces into sloping properties that can be suitable for garden areas, sections of lawn, patios and more. Made out of a variety of building materials retaining walls can compliment your landscaping and increase your properties curb appeal.
WA Construction Group LLC is a full service general construction contractor serving Seattle and the surrounding area. We specialize in the design and construction of retaining walls using rock, block, and concrete for both residential and commercial property owners.
From a 50′ foot long stacked block retaining wall to hold back a sloping property to a multi-tiered gravity block wall that spans over 100′. The team at WA Construction Group LLC will be able to provide retaining wall solutions that will benefit your specific property.
Retaining Walls & Building Permits in Seattle
In the Seattle area retaining walls that are over 1.2 meters (3.9ft) in height will require a building permit. In addition any retaining walls over 1.2 meters (3.9ft) in height must be designed and signed off by a geotechnical and structural engineer to ensure the wall is properly constructed for your site conditions. An exception applies to the permit for “terraced or tiered” retaining walls where the distance between terraces is equal to or greater than twice the height of each terrace. This does not account for any covenants that might be on your property.
Retaining Walls and Proper Drainage
While retaining walls are designed and built to hold back earth and fill they will also hold back and channel water. The water that builds up behind a retaining wall is referred to as “hydrostatic pressure” and the external force of the material/fill held behind your wall coupled with the weight of the water is often enough to seriously compromise the integrity of your wall and even cause failure and collapse.
A good drainage system should be an integral part of any retaining wall design. Depending on the type of material being used to build the wall there are a variety of ways to integrate sufficient drainage such as weep holes, lateral drains, blanket drains and also the use of very granular soil or fill.
Don’t underestimate the external forces that are being applied to your retaining wall as there are many retaining walls throughout our area that have failed due to poorly thought out or non-existent drainage. Don’t let your contractor make this mistake!
Retaining Wall Material Choices
There are many different materials to build your retaining wall from, we’ve just listed some of the more popular in our area because of their availability. If you have an idea for a retaining wall and you’d don’t see the materials listed here please give us a call or use our contact form and we’d be happy to source them for you.
Gravity or “Lock” Block: These are a very popular retaining wall choice for large retaining walls either spanning for a great distance or over several terraces.
The large rectangular concrete blocks are stacked on top of each other and through gravity and the eventual settling of the surrounding soil they make an excellent retaining wall. Locking concrete blocks are obviously very heavy and can only be moved using an excavator to strategically place them, which can add significant cost to the project even though the blocks themselves are relatively inexpensive.
Boulder Retaining Walls: Boulders make a very strong statement and much like gravity blocks their sheer size is what gives them an edge as retaining wall construction material.
The natural look of stone if appealing and no two boulders will be alike giving you a very unique appearance to your wall. Retaining walls built with boulders will also require the use of heavy machinery which will add to the cost of your project. Boulders are purchased by the ton and are available in good supply locally.
Concrete Retaining Walls: For a very modern and clean look many property owners choose to use concrete for their retaining walls. When using concrete we must construct wood forms so that the concrete can be poured or pumped into the retaining wall form.
Walls with many complex curves or that are very long can require extensive formwork which is quite labor intensive. One of the benefits to concrete is that it can be colored or even stamped on the outer surface to enhance the appearance and make it appear like stone blocks, or wood or other materials.
Landscaping Block Retaining Walls: This is probably one of the most common retaining wall materials because of it’s pleasing looks, availability and affordability. Landscaping blocks are usually used to build retaining walls that are under 3′ – 4′ feet in height. They are available in different shapes with decorative colors and even texturing.
The stackable blocks or stones are made of concrete and usually have a decorative finish on the front side and then a small lip on the back. The lip fits into the block below it to form an interlocking joint that can withstand the external forces of your soil and fill pushing against it. The blocks are often slightly wedge shaped to make it easier to create curved retaining wall designs.
How Our Retaining Wall Construction Process Works
When building a retaining wall on your property that is designed to hold back tons of soil and earth there is very little margin for error so we work directly with geotechnical engineers if your wall is over 1.2 meters in height.
- We start with our initial consultation.
- We determine how many feet of retaining wall you need.
- We determine the height of the wall and if a building permit or engineer will be required.
- We consult with you on the materials you’d like your retaining built with.
- We’ll provide you with an accurate written estimate for the work.
- We’ll get to work on the schedule start-date and build your new retaining wall.
- The end result will be a beautiful new retaining wall on your property.
The amount of work required to build a retaining wall can vary widely from project to project. The slope of your property, the amount of earth your retaining wall must hold back and the overall accessibility of your property will all contribute to the final cost.
We’ll be able to offer you an accurate estimate only after a site visit.
Remember: Retaining walls that are in excess of 1.2 meters in height (3.9 ft) will require a building permit and must be designed by a geotechnical engineer. We are more than happy to arrange and organize complicated projects such as this.
Why Choose WA Construction Group For Retaining Wall Construction?
We understand that you have many contractors to choose from throughout Seattle. We just want you to know that when you choose to work with WA Construction Group you are partnering with a small, locally owned business that has many years of experiencing implementing retaining wall solutions in your area.
You can expect knowledgeable, reliable service from our employees and a company that cares about your properties appearance and our local reputation.
If you’d like to receive an estimate for your upcoming construction project please give us a call 206-795-7425 or fill out our contact form and someone will be getting right back to you.