Basic Dimensions for Your Outdoor Projects

Dimensions are the basic numbers you need before starting any major outdoor project. Whether you are designing a driveway, sidewalk, retaining wall or pond, you need to know the correct dimensions to begin buying materials and outlining your installation. Here are some basic dimensions to help you with some common outdoor projects to ensure you get started on the right foot.

Driveways and Entry Gates

How wide should your driveway be and how much space do you need for an entry gate? It may depend on your needs. Here are some of the typical widths for driveways and entry gates:

  • Single car driveways should be about 9-12 feet wide
  • Double car driveways should be about 20-24 feet wide
  • Entry gates should be at least 32 feet wide
  • Parking stalls should be 10’ x 20’

Retaining Walls

If you are building a retaining wall to secure a hillside, standard size is usually 3-4 feet in height. This can include about 6” of paver or rock for the front façade and about 12” of compacted backfill in between the façade and native soil.

Ponds

You want to make sure garden or koi ponds are deep enough to prevent freezing and can sustain fish. Most will need to be at least 3 feet deep to accomplish these goals.

Walkways

When building walkways, you want to ensure they are wide enough to comfortably accommodate foot traffic. Walkways should always be at least 18” wide, with 24-30” as a standard width for a single person, 36-48” for flagstone or double-wide paths.

Knowing the right dimensions is important to ensure your project is functional. Your local landscaper can help you determine the best sizes for your needs if you need to go larger than the standard dimensions.

Posted on behalf of:
Landscape Innovations
215 Rebecca Ct
Fayetteville, GA 30215
(770) 616-3194

Reimagining Retaining Walls

You see basic retaining walls everywhere, from standard modular block walls to bricks or landscaping timbers. While these walls are functional and can improve the beauty of the property, they can lack imagination. Retaining walls are great for creating a tiered slope for gardening or to outline your property or driveway – they also can protect your property from harmful erosion. However, they can also be works of art when you use a little creativity in design.

Design Ideas for Retaining Walls

If you have been planning to add a new retaining wall or replacing an old one, consider the options available. While uniform modular blocks or bricks work fine, why not explore some creative options? Here are some ideas to make your retaining wall spectacular – a functional, yet attractive, addition to your property.

  • Add some curves. Curves can make a big difference in the aesthetic appeal of your new wall. Skip the straight lines and work with your contractor to find curvy options to soften the look of your new wall.
  • Natural stone creations. Most retaining walls are very uniform; break the mold and get creative with natural stones. Adding fieldstones intermixed with river rock and other natural stone can create an intriguing design. Stay away from the uniformity for a natural wall look.
  • Use different colored bricks, stones or blocks to create patterns in your wall. Add geometric designs or unique patterns to give your retaining wall an arty appeal.

Talk to your hardscape specialist about ideas for your new retaining wall. There is no reason to settle for a boring, standard wall when there are so many options to make it imaginative.

Posted on behalf of:
Maxwell Hardscapes
Sherrills Ford, NC 28673
(704) 469-5766

Retaining Walls for Flat Spaces

In most cases, retaining walls are used to secure slopes or hills and make better use of landscaping space. While stopping erosion and maximizing space on properties with uneven ground is a useful attribute of retaining walls, they can also be utilized for flat spaces. Here are a few ideas on how to use retaining walls to spruce up your flat landscaping areas.

Planter Boxes

Retaining walls are excellent for creating planter boxes near your patio or around your yard. Stone or brick retaining walls can be designed in squares, rectangles or circles, either standing alone or connected to other hardscapes.

Sunken Patios

Add depth to your flat space by creating a sunken patio area. This is a perfect spot for a fire pit or fireplace for long nights out in your outdoor living space. Make the most of the area by creating a retaining wall ledge that is chair-height to double as seating for your sunken patio.

Fencing, Edging or Barrier

A retaining wall can be built to create a barrier or fence for your yard. This can be a beautiful addition to your landscaping, especially when made from stone or brick. Use across your front yard, on the edge of driveways or to section spaces in your outdoor living space (a wall between the outdoor kitchen and patio is a good example).

You don’t need a hilly piece of property to find excellent uses for retaining walls in your landscape design. Talk to your local landscaper that offers retaining wall design and installation to come up with ideas to enhance your flat space. You may be surprised how much elegance and beauty your new retaining walls can bring to your landscaping.

Posted on behalf of:
Mobile Joe’s Landscaping
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(770) 360-5604

Creative Tips for Adding Retaining Walls to Your Property

Retaining walls can be used for function and style in your landscaping. For function, they can be used to hold back soil on a slope or hill to stop erosion. For style, they can be used to create beautiful planting areas for gardens or to make different levels for your outdoor living area. There is no need for any retaining wall to be dull or boring. Use these creative tips to make your retaining walls beautiful and functional: 

  • Round or curved walls. Designing a retaining wall in a circle for a new garden planter or a curved edge to hold back the slope on the edge of your yard softens the look of your wall.
  • Natural stone. If you want a classic or rustic look, choose natural stone for your retaining wall material. There are many varieties, from cut stone pavers to beautiful, naturally-shaped river rock.
  • Sunken patios. One way to use retaining walls in an otherwise flat yard is to create a sunken patio. This can be a great place for a fire pit or fireplace where your friends and family can gather. The retaining wall can be rounded or with straight edges, with a few steps leading down to your bi-level patio area.

Whether you are building a small flower garden or want a large retaining wall to secure a steep slope, hiring a qualified landscaper to design and install your wall is a good idea. Larger walls may need to meet local building codes and need to be carefully installed for engineering purposes. Contact your local landscaper to begin designing a new retaining wall that is beautiful and functional for your home.

Posted on behalf of:
Mobile Joe’s Landscaping
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(770) 360-5604

Doing Your Retaining Walls Right

A retaining wall can fix a problem slope or highlight a garden bed.  But it’s important the wall be properly constructed or the problem that was to be fixed can become an unsightly mess.  Before jumping head first into construction, examine the area and then put in stakes at the opposite ends of where the proposed wall.  Tie twine between the stakes.  This will ensure a straight wall.

Building a Sturdy Retaining Wall

For a sturdy wall, excavate the soil at the rate of four inches per three feet of wall.  Next, add an inch or so of base material and then compact the area with a hand tamper.  Do this in stages until the base is complete.  Base material is a mixture of sand and crushed rock and available at most home improvement stores.

The next step is to start laying the bricks. Lay the bricks one at a time and end with a full block.  It helps to place soil in front of the blocks in the first row to assure they stay in place. Depending on the size of the wall it may be necessary to cut some of the blocks to make them fit correctly.  A masonry saw will be needed to safely and efficiently make the cuts.

If the blocks in the first row are not even, raise the low block and add additional base material. Once the first row is complete, level the row gently with a hand tamper.  Add the next row of block, always trying to end with a full block.  As additional rows are added the weight or the blocks will keep the rows level.

As each level of the wall is built, fill behind the rock with crushed gravel and gently tamp the gravel into any open spaces.  This step is needed to help with drainage and will keep tree and weed roots from weakening and destroying the wall.

Unfortunately, building a retaining wall right is not always as easy as it sounds. Save yourself the time and hassle by hiring an experienced landscaper to make sure you get the job done right!

Posted on behalf of:
Maxwell Hardscapes
Sherrills Ford, NC
(704) 469-5766

How Can Retaining Walls Improve Your Property?

One of most beautiful, functional structures on a landscaped property is the stone retaining wall. For any home built on property with slopes or hills, retaining walls can be used in a variety of ways to protect and enhance the land. While some retaining walls are added purely for aesthetic purposes, most have a function. Whether it’s reducing erosion or offering support, retaining walls are an excellent investment to improve your property.

Common Retaining Wall Functions

Retaining walls can range from only a few to several feet in height. The size and strength of the wall will all depend on the function. Retaining walls can be made from several types of materials, but arguably some of the most beautiful are those made with formed pavers. However, the function remains the same. The most common reasons for adding a retaining wall include:

  • Erosion control. Often retaining walls will be added to reduce erosion on hills and slopes. These walls are usually placed at the bottom of a slope or tiered down the side of a hill.
  • Leveling property. To create a level lawn or yard on a sloped property, many homeowners will use retaining walls to support a leveled area.
  • Supporting gardens or tiers. Many homeowners prefer to have abrupt level changes versus a slope, using the different levels for gardens or landscaping opportunities. Retaining walls support these different levels to create a beautiful area for planting.

If you want to add depth, stability and character to your sloped property, consider using retaining walls to achieve the best results. Using concrete, brick or natural stone pavers can create strong retaining walls that will also add curb appeal to your home. Talk to your local paver supply and service installer to discuss adding retaining walls to your property this year.

Posted on behalf of Tri County Pavers & Design
1925 Park Place
Boca Raton, FL 33486
(561) 738-5522

Creative Uses For Landscape Timbers

While many types of wood products have become increasingly expensive in the last few years, one of the most inexpensive is landscape timbers. Although they are not designed to build a deck or other major construction projects, they are commonly used for edging and building low retaining walls but can be used for many outdoors projects. If you find a good deal on landscape timbers at your local landscape supply store, here are some creative ideas for using them in your outdoor living areas.

Walkways

One of the ways to make the most out of landscape timbers is by building a walkway. Since timbers are designed to be placed in dirt, they are more resistant to rotting than most lumber. Instead of needing to build above ground like a deck, timbers can be laid on the ground, requiring a much lower investment of time and money. Cut the timbers into identical pieces, measured to the width of your path. Then use boards the length of the walkway to hold the pieces in place on either side. You can use gravel, mulch or even just dirt to hold the boards in place.

Benches

Landscape timbers can make a great rustic bench for your patio or garden area. They can be laid across bricks or blocks, using rebar to hold the seat pieces together. You can also make the entire bench from timbers, stacking them to create legs with rebar threaded through them into the ground, with additional pieces for the seat or back.

Next time you’re visiting your local landscape supply store, take a look at the timbers available and ask about any “inferior” timbers they may have on sale. Often timbers with flaws may be discounted, yet they can be a great source of lumber for creative homeowners on a budget.

Posted on behalf of Cunningham Landscape Group

Using Retaining Walls To Transform Hillsides

If you have a steep hill in your yard, you know how difficult it can be to plant and maintain these areas. Grass is difficult to mow, plants are hard to weed and erosion takes its toll on any landscaping design you attempt. The best solution is to add a retaining wall or walls, which can support your hillside, giving it a beautiful edge that can add to the curb appeal of your home.

Retaining Wall Options

Retaining walls can be made from many different types of materials and used in several ways. Most commonly, you will notice retaining walls at the bottom of a hill or slope, creating a clean, beautiful edge to the hill. This can be done with bricks, natural stones or even cement, depending on your preference and budget. Natural stones such as flagstones are one of the more expensive materials; however, this can give a wonderful rustic look to your home that will last for decades or longer.

In addition to just adding an edge to your hillside, retaining walls can be used for other purposes as well, including:

  • Terracing. Create perfect planting areas by adding terraces to your hillside with retaining walls. This can transform your hill into two or more flat garden spots.
  • Erosion. Adding a retaining wall can stop your hillside from eroding further, stabilizing the hill ground and protecting the landscaping below. If your home is at the top of this hill, it can protect your foundation from erosion.

Once the retaining wall is in place, there is very little maintenance that needs to be done, making it an easy fix for your hillside. Talk to your local landscaping company about creating a retaining wall for your hillside as a beautiful and functional addition to your yard.

Posted on behalf of Joe Archer, Mobile Joe’s Landscaping

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Using Retaining Walls in Garden Design

Retaining walls are a popular design element, and one that serves a variety of purposes in a landscaping plan. From purely aesthetic value to functional purposes, retaining walls make appearances for many reasons. Understanding what retaining walls are used for and why they’re important can help you determine whether or not they should be integrated into your outdoor living design.

Preventing Erosion

Rolling slopes provide plenty of visual interest, but they can also cause soil erosion over time. Retaining walls can prevent erosion by keeping the soil from rolling down hills. Raised beds can also benefit from the addition of retaining walls, because they prevent soil from becoming displaced by water runoff or heavy rains.

Building Water Features

Traditionally, water features are installed by digging into the ground. Some homeowners prefer to install water features above ground, and this is where retaining walls come in handy. Building a retaining wall around the new water feature eliminates the need for deep digging and keeps the water installation at an easily visible level.

Retaining walls can be constructed from a variety of fabrication materials, including interlocking pavers. Using pavers to build or face a retaining wall allows you to create a cohesive landscaping design, especially if it also features walkways, patios and other features constructed from the same pavers.

Working with a professional paving and landscaping contractor will help you to decide whether retaining walls would make a functional and aesthetically pleasing addition to your property. Contact a professional contractor in your area to discuss the use of pavers in the construction of your retaining wall, and all the ways adding one to your property can benefit your overall design.

Posted on behalf of Marty Shettle, Lane Landscaping

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Do I Need to Add a Retaining Wall to My Landscaping Project?

Retaining walls are used primarily to “shape” an area of a landscaping project that needs control, either for water drainage or to prevent soil erosion. Retaining walls are to, in essence, hold the soil between two different elevations where there may be two undesirable slopes. These structures help prevent the natural flow of gravity’s pull. In other words, they keep soil and water from naturally “running down hill.”

Because a retaining wall literally holds back soil or water from collapsing, they are often in need of additional support, to reduce the amount of pressure on the wall.  Earth pressures can actually move a retaining wall if the pressure applied from gravity due to the ground’s slope is not properly considered. Additionally, proper soil water drainage behind the wall should be ensured. There are several kinds of retaining walls, depending on the size of your project.  Some walls require setbacks, footings, or cantilevers.  They can be formed from concrete, stone, masonry units, precast facing, stacked steel baskets with rocks, timber or walls formed from the soil and reinforced with rods.

For these reasons, it is important to contact your local landscaping professional when designing and installing the walls. They will recognize and understand the special challenges of your landscape and will be able to steer your toward the type of wall to meet your specific needs.

While the above information may seem overwhelming at first glance, rest assured that adding a retaining wall to your property can be not only decorative but useful, helping to transform and utilize your space to its best advantage.