Retaining Walls for Pittsburgh, PA

Stone steps through retaining walls in Pittsburgh, PA When people look at a landscape, the features that are most often noticed and appreciated are the plants, trees, well-manicured lawns, the fountains and waterfalls and the blooms in the flower beds too. But there’s much more to landscaping than just that. There are some features that are almost an integral part of the landscape, such as retaining walls.

What Are Retaining Walls?

These are specially engineered walls that are installed to provide support to the landscaping. Many properties across the area have graded land and at some points, the grading is so extreme that there could be slopes on the property too. In case a space has to be made for a driveway, pathways, walkways, fireplace areas or even an outdoor kitchen, the slope will have to be excavated and the land will have to be leveled.

But even before the paving stones are installed or any structure is built, we first have to build retaining walls. These provide the excavated sloping areas the support they need and prevent mudslides and soil erosion.

Materials Used In Retaining Wall Construction

While it may seem like there is nothing special in building retaining walls, these are specially engineered concrete walls. They are custom-design to serve a specific purpose. There are a number of different materials that can be used in their construction such as:

  • CMUs - This is an acronym for Concrete Masonry Unit. They are used to build retaining walls and the construction is quick. Since these are made of concrete, they can be clad with a natural stone veneer to look just like a stone wall.
  • Interlocking concrete blocks - This is one more type of ‘modular’ wall building material. These are very much like Lego blocks that fit in specially made notches and grooves and this helps create a very strong wall. These are mortarless installations and can also be removed easily and repositioned at another location as required.
  • Brick - Retaining walls that are made of brick look stunning and add a very rustic and earthy look to the landscaping.
  • Natural Stone - In some cases, natural stone retaining walls are dry-stacked and can be moved around, much like the ones made of interlocking concrete bricks. On the other hand, some walls may be mortared together or boulders may be used in their construction. These options can be costlier than building brick or concrete walls, but they can last for a lifetime with the least amount of maintenance.

The Rolling Hills Difference

John is an advanced level installer with the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA). This is a distinction that has only been awarded to 250 installers in all of North America. Our retaining walls are constructed to NCMA standards, which include the proper footing of the wall on a 2A limestone base, backfill behind the wall consisting of 2B limestone, a corrugated and perforated 4” drain pipe when applicable behind the base of the wall, and battering of each course of block.

Unique to our installation process is the use of glue not only for adhering the caps to systems such as Versa Lok, but to glue corners and curves as well. We line up block whenever possible to create bonds on half-bond construction and use saw cuts for block and caps when applicable for the best structure and aesthetic for the wall.