Concrete Foundation Auckland

Timber Retaining Walls

Make the most out of your outdoor space.
When most people think of renovating a property, they think about the interior. However, if you are fortunate enough to have land or a garden surrounding your property, there is a wealth of opportunity to maximise that space through the construction of wooden or timber retaining walls. Many kiwi properties are built on uneven or sloped sections. A retaining wall offers the chance to tame these varied landscapes and create form and function – whether for commercial or residential properties.

The main purpose of a wooden retaining wall is to hold soil behind them and create level ground. This allows you to create new spaces and unlock the full potential of your landscape. It transforms unusable slopes into areas that can be used for practical reasons – whether that be for preventing land slippage, entertainment purposes, planting a garden, creating easy access ways or just to increase the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor area.

Why Would You Build a Timber or Wooden Retaining Wall?

Practical Applications of Timber Retaining Walls

Retaining walls serve many purposes, but one of the main reasons New Zealanders build retaining walls on their property is to prevent soil and debris spilling down the landscape. The reason they are so prevalent on properties in Auckland is because of the large amount of sections that are uneven. This can be a huge problem given New Zealand’s unpredictable climate, often going from dry to raining in a matter of minutes. This soil run off can lead to soil weakening over time, and ultimately slipping down the slope. Because of this, retaining walls are usually constructed on slopes that face a property. This prevents any potential damage done to a property from weakened soil. The timber or wood retaining wall acts as a buffer preventing soil from slipping.

Aesthetic Applications of Timber Retaining Walls

Practical reasons aside, the other reason for building a retaining wall may be solely to rejuvenate a tired landscape. If a timber retaining wall is designed and planned correctly, it has the ability to add aesthetic layers to an outdoor space. They can provide depth, verticality and variety to what is sometimes a completely unusable piece of land. By using multiple layers, you can reclaim lost space that otherwise might have gone to waste.

Timber or wood is a versatile and durable material. While timber retaining walls may be limited to straight angles, with the right design team behind the job this hardly limits their application. Timber is a highly affordable material to work with and provides a timeless aesthetic when the project is complete. Because it’s a relatively lightweight material in comparison to other retaining wall options, construction can be completed quickly and efficiently with little chance of going over budget due to unforeseen problems or timesinks.

How Long Do Timber Retaining Walls Last?

While timber retaining walls may have a lesser lifespan than other materials such as stone or concrete, they are still highly durable with a lifespan of up to 40 years. Coupling this with the fact that timber is always easy to source, repairing and maintaining a wooden retaining wall makes it a great choice for many kiwis.

How Are Wooden or Timber Retaining Walls Installed?

The first step to building a wooden or timber retaining wall is to measure the area accurately in order to begin to plan. Build2 has constructed countless retaining walls for a range of reasons, from practical to aesthetic, and knows exactly how to draw up plans that will fit your exact requirements.

Once the plan is in place, the next step is to measure out the area to mark where the posts for the retaining wall will be. These points will then have holes dug out of our board in order to put the posts in. The posts are sunk into the holes and the wood for the wall is cut to size. These pieces of wood are known as sleepers. These sleepers are then attached behind the posts, and drilled to stay in place, starting from the bottom and methodically placed row by row. Posts are then cut and leveled to make them flush with the top of the wall.

It is important that an adequate drainage system is incorporated into the design of the wall, as the elevated nature of a retaining wall means it will always be subject to water gathering in it. Once all these elements are installed, the soil is leveled off and you have a brand new retaining wall.

The Science Behind a Retaining Wall

It is often overlooked that retaining walls are a load bearing feature, and therefore physics have to be brought into consideration. There are a few different types of retaining wall designs that ensure the weight from the soil is adequately accounted for and counter balanced.

Do I need Building Consent to Build a Wooden Retaining Wall?

The need for building consent is often the first obstacle in getting a construction project going. It can take a while for consent to be issued and can stand as the speed bump that stops many people pulling the trigger on getting started. Luckily, when it comes to retaining walls, there are many instances where a building consent is not required.

Constructing a wooden retaining wall that is under 1.5m does not require building consent to be issued. A 1.5m retaining wall will address the needs of a large number of property owners looking to install one, whether ro stop weakened soil sliding down a slope or to rejuvenate their outdoor space.

The exemption for a 1.5m wall not needing building consent is in the event that the level ground is going to be supporting an additional external load. One example would be if a retaining wall has a driveway on top of it.

If the overall height ranges in a timber retaining wall, it will need building consent. For instance, if it is a tiered design, with the lowest tier being 1m, 1.5 and 2m, the part exceeding 1.5m will require building consent.

What Does it Usually Cost To Build a Wooden or Timber Retaining Wall?

There are a few different factors that go into the pricing of a timber retaining wall in New Zealand. A ballpark figure would be between $300-$350 + GST per meter squared. This can help you begin to work out the overall budget for your retaining wall project.

Looking to Build a Wooden or Timber Retaining Wall? Build2 is the Experienced Auckland Team You are Looking For.

Build2 is a highly experienced team that has successfully completed retaining wall projects across the wider Auckland area. An expert team equipped with all the tools and equipment needed, Build2 has a stellar reputation for high quality workmanship completed on time and to budget. Build2 can handle the entire process, from planning, to design, project management, construction and completion. If you are looking to add form and function to your outdoor area with a wooden or timber retaining wall, get in contact with the team at Build2 today!

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