Not all walls are alike. And even though there are similarities between retaining walls and garden walls, there are some important differences as well. This means that before you have a wall installed, you need to know if it will fulfill its primary duty first, so you are not wasting your money. This means keeping in mind that outdoor walls may serve different functions based on their design.
Outdoor walls are used for seating, support, defining the bed of a garden, and retaining slopes to prevent erosion and increasing usable land space. A seating wall is used to provide guests with a place to sit outdoors. It may be decorative, but it is also quite sturdy. While a support wall is also sturdy, designed to hold vertical structures such as pillars, fencing, and the like.
Understanding the difference between garden and retaining walls is crucial when you are attempting to retain soil and create more usable land space.
What are Garden Walls?
Garden walls tend to be low, from one to two feet above the surface. The primary function of this type of wall is to define a boundary between two separate functions of land. Garden walls are decorative in nature and some are strong enough to hold additional soil to create a garden in your yard.
However, garden walls cannot retain heavily packed soil, especially when constructed along a slope. While topsoil is rather light, the more that is used, the greater the density and weight which then requires a retaining wall.
What are Retaining Walls?
A retaining wall is designed to hold in the considerable weight of soil that otherwise might erode down a slope. This type of wall is also used on level areas where you want to add a considerable amount of topsoil to create a garden or other feature.
As the name implies, its primary function is to retain the soil. This means that such walls are thick and sturdy, designed for many years of use. However, they can also be decorative in nature, adding to the beauty of your property while still fulfilling its primary mission of retaining soil.
So, a retaining wall may have some decorative features of a garden wall. But a garden wall does not have the ability to hold considerable amounts of soil like a retaining wall. There is some obvious confusion between garden and retaining walls because in many cases a retaining wall is used to create land space for a garden. But the difference is substantial as garden walls are used to define a boundary while retaining walls are designed to hold back soil.
If you want to create more usable land space along a slope, then you will need a retaining wall. What you do with the space inside is up to you, but in many cases a garden can be made from the soil retained by a retaining wall.
There are substantial differences between retaining walls and garden walls. And while retaining walls may be part of a garden, garden walls cannot serve the same function as walls that retain the soil.