Retaining Walls

Words: Bronzella Cleveland
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Recently, my neighborhood association embarked on a somewhat ambitious project (ambitious for our little community, anyway) to replace all of our treated-lumber retaining walls with a more long-term and maintenance-free option. In the end, the board chose a concrete block system with a stone appearance. This segmented retaining wall system not only is aesthetically pleasing, but the two-tone colors blend seamlessly with the facade of the homes in the neighborhood. I couldn't be more pleased with the results, and I suspect my neighbors approve as well.

Until this project was underway, I never gave much thought to retaining walls, having never built one myself or requiring that one be designed and built for me. Of course, I have written about them in the past and published articles from industry experts, but then I moved on to other projects – other articles. Now, however, I have a newfound appreciation for retaining structures. I take notice every morning of the new wall outside my home as I leave for work. It always puts a smile on my face. That new wall isn't just retaining soil; it has beautified my community, increased my pride in my locality, and undoubtedly improved property values.

When was the last time you thought about the retaining walls in your neighborhood, or in your own backyard? Are you missing out on an opportunity to improve the appearance of your home? Better still, have you completed a retaining wall project recently that you think deserves to be shared with the masonry design community? If so, please let me know. I would be happy to consider it for publication in the magazine.

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