Using concrete sleepers and retaining walls are a fantastic way to add value, character and appeal to your home. Sometimes, retaining walls are inevitable to stabilise sloping land and prevent damage. But they can also provide extra privacy, block undesirable views or be a framework for your garden. At Newtons Building and Landscape Supplies, we stock a wide variety of concrete sleepers and retaining wall solutions and accessories. Although we do not install retaining walls we can connect you with reliable landscapers who can!
Plan on building a retaining wall at home?
Statewide Hire, located next door to our Newton’s store, provide equipment of all varieties for hire. They are able to provide you with any and all equipment you’ll need to get the job done with ease! You can contact them on 08 8336 9166 to enquire about what equipment you may need and to hire over the phone.
Why build a retaining wall?
Retaining walls are generally used in one fixed place within a backyard, serving as a design feature or to add support to the overall structure. If the area is sloped and has loose soil running off, some people opt for a retaining wall to block in this loose soil. This again adds structure and security to the yard.
Concrete Sleepers and Retaining walls have the following benefits:
- Provides additional support by blocking soil into its place
- Prevents from sink holes and eliminated dirt piles and hills
- Avoids flooding
- Avoids erosion
- Prevents structural damage to your property
Retaining walls are versatile because they can be built from blocks or poured concrete. They are an inexpensive option and are highly durable. They can be left in their natural state or they can be modified to suit the rest of the yard design. For example, they can be rendered smooth or textured and painted a variety of colours. Retaining walls can be customised to fit any design theme. A well-built retaining wall will last for years and years!
How to maintain retaining walls:
Once set up, retaining walls don’t need much maintenance at all! The only issue which may occur is one which result from excess moisture build up at the footings of the wall. However, this can be avoided by reducing the number of plants near the wall and making sure that the soil beneath the wall is draining well. When a lot of moisture gathers along the footings of the wall it can compromise the integrity of the wall. This can cause sloping and cracking where the wall has lost structure. So, keeping this area well-drained is a must! Inadequate draining is the main reason for a retaining wall becoming damaged. We can help with the supply of all retaining wall accessories to help reduce the risk.
What do you use retaining walls for?
The two main reasons for using a retaining wall is for structure or for aesthetics. Structure is important to stabilise sloping land and prevent damage to a property. For aesthetics, you could use retaining walls as a feature for your yard or as a way to make garden beds or even edge an existing garden. This therefore creates a contemporary feel to any yard because it can make a yard feel complete. Match your retaining wall to your pavers or exterior of your house for a professional look. Alternatively, you can contrast against the existing pavers or exterior of your house to make the wall more of a feature.
Remember, any wall that is over 1m above ground must have council approval and will require engineering. Our friends at outback sleepers have engineers available upon request or alternatively you can follow council advice to finding independent engineers to ensure your wall meets council regulations.
Retaining Wall Steel
I beams and C channels are steel beams which hold together a retaining wall or concrete sleeper. Moreover, they act as the supporting structure within the wall to make the wall as strong as it can be. I beams and C channels are a vital part of any retaining wall because they increase the structural integrity of the wall immensely.
The diagram below shows a bird’s eye view of how to use I beams and C Channels in the design of your retaining wall. Essentially, it is the frame which holds everything together.
Orange= C channels
Pink= I beam
Accessories for Concrete Sleepers and Retaining Walls:
A full range of retaining wall accessories are also available at Newtons Building & Landscape Supplies. Retaining wall accessories you will need include;
Agroflex AG Pipe:
This allows for drainage in retaining walls to keep the moisture level of the soil down and consequently helping maintain the structural integrity.
Assists in the draining process. This stops finer dirt particles entering the Agroflex AG pipe so that it does not get clogged up. Without this, the pipe may not drain efficiently due to debris blocking the pipes entry.
To protect the wall from mechanical damage or as extra backing you will want to use Impraboard.
You can apply Plastimul to further protect the wall against excess moisture which may prolong the lifetime of the wall. Plastimul is a waterproof layer which can easily be applied to the back of the wall upon construction. A simple step to ensure the longevity of the wall.
Bagged vs Pre-mixed Concrete:
When choosing between bagged or pre-mixed concrete the major factor to consider is the size of the job. If the retaining wall is only a small area then you may be able to use bagged concrete mix as it is more convenient and less hassle than pre-mixed concrete.
Bagged concrete can come in a rapid set variety which sets in 15mins, so again if the area is small and you can work fast this is the most convenient option. However, if this project is quite a big job and you will need a lot of concrete then your best option is pre-mixed concrete. Bagged concrete comes in small quantities and becomes costly to buy lots of bags. It would be cheaper in this case to buy pre-mixed.
Retaining walls can be built from a range of products from masonry blocks to concrete to timber sleepers. However, a popular option is a concrete sleeper retaining wall. Our main concrete sleeper retaining wall suppliers include Outback Sleepers and Creative Sleepers. When in doubt, get it checked by a professional!
Blackwood Concrete Sleeper:
This sleeper is charcoal in colour with a smooth looking finish. Perfect for modern yards which need a universal, contemporary design.
Cove Concrete Sleeper:
This sleeper is a light sand beige colour with a textured finish. This type of sleeper well suits yards with a Mediterranean theme or for yards which have light pavers. They can provide a light backdrop for native flora and other darker varieties of plants.
Kensington Concrete Sleeper:
This type of sleepers would work well for most types of yards as its look and feel is extremely versatile. With a mid-tone grey colour, this sleeper is not too dark or too light which means it works as a complementary colour for many existing landscape designs.
Lonsdale Concrete Sleeper:
The Lonsdale sleeper has a modern, contemporary design. The cool light grey tone is very versatile because it suits a variety of existing landscape designs. Again, this sleeper is good for adding in some light to the yard or as a contrasting feature to a space with darker pavers.
McLaren Concrete Sleeper:
This sleeper is dark toned grey in colour and is perfect for yards with more of a rustic feel.
Bedrock Concrete Sleepers:
Bedrock sleepers are very popular due to its natural look and colour. Similar to Outback Sleepers Cove Concrete Sleepers, this variety suits yards with Mediterranean vibes. This variety is available is both sandstone and charcoal.
Federation Concrete Sleepers:
This sleeper has a smooth finish, which suits paved areas well. This variety is available in both charcoal and sandstone.
Grecian Concrete Sleepers:
The Grecian sleepers have a semi smooth finish which best suits rendered houses. However, it gives off a similar vibe to the Bedrock variety. Although these varieties have different finishes, the general design still gives laid back and modern vibes. Available in both charcoal and sandstone.
Industrial concrete Sleepers:
This sleeper is a plain faced sleeper which is best suited for rustic or industrially designed areas. Available in both charcoal and sandstone.
Author: Jessica Coe