Another method of using natural dry stone in retaining wall construction results in the use of boulders to hold back the ground. This kind of retaining wall depends on the very weight of the boulder itself for stability. However, this method should not be considered as solid as a more traditional retaining wall. One reason for this kind of wall is to raise planting areas above grade due to high water table or dense, poorly draining clay, hard pan and bedrock. The boulder allows for a natural barrier to hold back imported topsoil. This elevation ensures the root crown and much of the root zone itself is adequately drained for the average landscape plant to survive.
For customers who are keen on using native plants, particularly those that originate in mountainous regions of the west, fast drainage is essential. They may even choose this method to elevate planting even though reasonably well drained soils exist on site. Natives thrive in the nooks and crannies created behind and in between the boulders which create a setting that is similar to their habitat of origin.
Boulder retaining walls are a phenomenal building material with no weathering or erosion. Their greatest characteristic is that they're comprised of natural stone, as opposed to modular concrete block walls you see more of today. Boulder walls differ in size, shape and aesthetic, depending on factors like size, weight, angularity and placement of the individual boulder to be used in the retaining wall. These four factors are key to building a perfect boulder retaining wall. Talking to a landscape design contractor at Long Island Lumberjack can help you determine exactly what you want your retaining wall construction to look like.
Placement or pattern of the boulder retaining wall must be kept in mind. There are two patterns to choose from when installing a boulder retaining wall: A basket weave/modular wall is like stacking uniform bricks. It involves using regular-sized stones that are rectangular or square in shape and size stacked in uniform patterns. A random pattern boulder wall involves more skill and more time compared to basket weave.
While installing a boulder retaining wall we always suggest not getting fixated on a specific stone or style —sometimes the stone you’re really into just doesn’t work, so it’s always smarter to work with something that will. Angularity and placement are so important. Contractors who use a bobcat bucket or forklift to install the boulders usually take longer and sometimes skimp on quality of placement. On the other hand, contractors who use a bobcat grapple or thumb can install boulders faster and with better placement quality.
We love our customers and what we do, so feel free to call anytime for assistance with your retaining wall needs!
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