Retaining Walls Pittsburgh

“What is one to think of those fools who tell one that the artist is always subordinate to nature?  Art is in harmony parallel with nature.”
– Paul Cezanne

Retaining Walls in Pittsburgh

Stone retaining walls are a creative way to surround one or both sides of any sloped area of your Pittsburgh home or business, especially when embellished with decorative shrubs and vivacious garden flowers. The top edge of the retaining wall also offers the added opportunity for seasonal decoration, such as a row of alternating potted mums and grinning jack-o-lanterns to welcome autumn. The wall itself takes on a festive facade when draped with lush evergreen garland for the winter holidays.

Stone retaining walls are functional additions to your landscape, and they can be extremely attractive. Used to create level areas out of hillsides, they can provide you with additional areas for playing with the kids or gardening. If you have been considering the benefits of taking control of your landscape, then consider trusting Wichman Landscape Construction, a highly experienced Pittsburgh retaining wall contractor. Call us today at (412) 760-8524

 Photos of Our Completed Retaining Wall Projects

Stone retaining walls come basically in two types, Natural Stone or a Segmented Retaining wall and within each type you have either gravity stacked wall or a reinforced wall.  The gravity stack wall resists the forces of failure such as overturning, tilting forward or global failure (forward movement at the foot of the wall) by the weight, depth and batter of the wall components.  The reinforced retaining walls are a composite system that include at least four (4) major components:  the blocks and footing, the use of horizontal layers of geogrid reinforcement, the selected soil fill and the drainage from within this component,  and the drainage rock and drain tubes behind the wall which can be expanded to meet ground water incursion behind the wall.

What to Consider When Building a Retaining Wall in Pittsburgh

When faced with the choice to build a retaining wall in Pittsburgh, Wichman Landscape Construction can assist by walking a client through the following steps to insure the proper questions have been asked.  They are:

  • Slope Stability:  Is there need for an analysis to examine the influence of all geometry, subsoil properties, ground water conditions, and slopes above and below the proposed retaining wall?  What is the long term global or slope stability assessment that needs to be addressed?
  • Settlement:  What are the type, thickness and compressibility of the foundation soils?  Are the conditions suitable for a wall or are there issues that need to be addressed?
  • Groundwater conditions need to be ascertained and verified.  The information should include:
    • current ground water levels,
    • seasonal fluctuations of ground water,
    • maximum previous ground water elevations,
    • regional ground water flow,
    • possible influence of the retaining wall on ground water flow and elevation, and
    • the potential for hydrostatic pressure or seepage on or in the selected soils and retained soils zones.
  • Seismic: if there is a potential for seismic activity, (highly unlikely in Western Pa.) then horizontal and vertical acceleration should be examined and considered.
  • Other issues to consider are:
    • relative location or other structures,
    • location of other engineered walls in the area,
    • subsurface mines,
    • steep slopes,
    • local building codes.

What Type of Retaining Wall to Choose

Though there are only two types of walls; Natural Stone or Segmented, there are within each genus if you will a multitude of variants, designs and construction features.  All of which build off gravity and reinforced designs.

Natural Stone Retaining Walls

Natural Stone retaining walls have a certain sophisticated look and for the most part can be an inexpensive way to achieve landscaping design features.   Natural Stone wall can be built in three (3) ways depending on the stone type and aesthetic features chosen.  Natural stone retaining walls are ideal for gardens and low retaining walls, and provide a fantastic look that is sophisticated and refined. Natural stone walls can either be gravity built with a 3:1 or 4;1 batter (ratio of height & offset in inches or feet) or depending on the height with no batter, built with a geogrid reinforcement.

Segmented Retaining Walls

Segmented retaining walls come in many different designs & types.  Generally they are either a concrete formed rectangular block that has interlocking features and will vary considerably in size and shape or can be a concrete modular unit (cinderblock) that has either a brick or stone veneer mortared to it.  Construction again can be a battered or reinforced design.

In the Western Pa. and specifically the Pittsburgh, Butler, and Beaver areas, Wichman specializes in installing driveway retaining walls as well as all types of landscape retaining walls around residential and commercial properties.  See the photo gallery of all the various retraining walls we have built in the past.

Whatever the design, retaining walls need to be able to withstand incredible pressure from the earth they are holding back.  Properly built walls can rise over fifty feet, allowing you to customize your landscape to your exact specifications.

Retaining walls will increase the value of your property and boost curb appeal. Whether you want a flat, clean area for a patio, pool or garden, a retaining wall can help you transform your landscape to meet your desires.

Wichman Landscape only uses the highest-quality blocks and proven construction methods to ensure that your retaining walls last for generations to come.  We will install blocks from the following recommended material manufacturers that supply wall system product into the Pittsburgh region:

Trust the experienced team at Wichman Landscape to build stable retaining walls in Pittsburgh that will last for generations. Call us today at (412) 760-8524 for a free estimate!

– Visit our retaining wall technical specifications page to learn and understand the basics of hardscape wall construction.

Mr. Wichman was very professional and knowledgeable. He replaced our back patio with a beautiful flagstone finish. The old patio was removed and excavated. New base of stone chips tamped down. Mr. Wichman was open to discussion as work was being completed to accommodate alterations in original plans. Work was completed in a very timely manner. The laborers were polite and hard working. They cleaned up very nicely after the project was completed. Thank you for your service manners, for your suggestions and one on one phone conversations.

Kathy B.

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