Retaining Walls For Driveways and Parking Lots: What You Need to Know
As we head towards the hustle and bustle of another busy holiday season, we’ve got retaining walls for driveways and parking lots on the mind. It might seem strange to be thinking about landscaping in the middle of November, what with the many months of blustery winter weather ahead of us, but really, there’s no better time than now to be designing the driveway of your dreams. The best time to start building a new driveway is after those wet early-spring rains, so we thought we’d help you get ahead of the game by filling you in on everything you need to know to get the planning process started today!
A Little Extra or a Bit Off the Top?
The first thing to consider when planning your new driveway is whether you’re looking to cut or fill as this will determine the design, materials, and details you need to consider when building. Not sure which category you fall into? No problem! We’ll break it down for you:
- Cut retaining wall: This sort of driveway and retaining wall is for when you need to extend your driveway, to make it longer or more approachable. With this sort of a design, we always suggest including a curb or parking stop at least four feet out from the retaining wall, to ensure there’s no potential for a driver to accidentally clip or run into the wall itself! This sort of retaining wall can also be designed without any real considerations for top-load, since all of the heavy traffic will be on the driveway below. Keep in mind that slopes or structures above the wall also add loading and need to be determined before the fact. Preliminary designs are always important in retaining wall design.
- Fill retaining wall: This driveway design is for when you need to build up your driveway, to compensate for a slope that’s too shallow, or for land that’s otherwise unstable. In this instance, geogrids are usually required to account for the load on the driveway. For the opposite reason of someone driving into your retaining wall we also don’t want them to drive over the wall. So, for this reason a parking curb and potentially guard rail are recommended.
All driveways and retaining walls fall into these two build categories. Once you’ve determined which approach your particular situation calls for, you’re well on your way to designing a stunning, attractive new driveway!
Photos of Retaining Walls for Driveways and Parking Lots Using CornerStone Wall Blocks