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The Basics Of A Dry Stone Retaining Wall Right For Your Northern Virginia Home

A standard method of building a retaining wall for centuries, a dry stone retaining wall adds a romantic feeling to what could otherwise be a boring concrete wall. When built and installed correctly, a dry stone retaining wall can last for centuries to come.

Two types of retaining walls are built today, freestanding retaining walls and stone retaining walls. Even though both types are typically constructed in similar fashion, a stone retaining wall requires extra expertise and attention to deal if it is to last.

Retaining walls that are constructed with a single row of stones that interlock will work, but retaining walls constructed with multiple rows of interlocking rocks are sturdier and tend to last longer. One trick of the trade is to make the base of the stone retaining wall wider at the bottom – often camouflaged by landscaping – than at the top to provide added support.

Building a stone retaining wall using stones that are more angular than round tend to stack easier and is sturdier over time, as the angular stones resist the general movement of frost heaving and gravity. The term “dry stone” simply implies mortar or cement is not used to hold the retaining wall together, which allows for easier movement as the ground freezes in the winter pushing the stones upward and again back down when thawing occurs in the spring. Basically, friction and gravity hold the stone retaining wall in place.

When constructing a retaining wall that is taller than three feet, it should tilt slightly backward into the hillside to add additional support on the bottom. This practice is known as “battering” and it is common to see a stone retaining wall that leans backward six inches for every four vertical feet.

For more information on building a stone retaining wall and other hardscaping at your home, contact the experts at Lost Creek Landscapes. Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping and design company, Lost Creek Landscapes’ team of experts can provide information on proper drainage techniques for a dry stone retaining wall as well as build it from scratch. Serving all of the Northern Virginia area, including Annandale, VA, Arlington, VA, Ashburn, VA, Bethesda, MD, Mount Vernon, VA, Newington, VA, Oakton, VA and Potomac Falls, VA, Lost Creek Landscaping provides expertise and skill for every project, including the construction of retaining walls.