Close your eyes and imagine your dream Vancouver yard. You’re lying on your lawn chair with your favorite drink in hand enjoying your West Coast backyard bliss. Now freeze frame that image. Zoom in on that retaining wall beyond your fish pond and to the left of your BBQ pavilion.
What do you see your retaining wall made of? Brick? Wood? Concrete Block?
If you’re planning on making this dream come true (and Dig encourages you to do exactly that!), then there are a few things to consider about the different materials that can be used for constructing retaining walls in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
Brick Retaining Walls
- very charming, traditional appearance (spot of tea, anyone?)
- aesthetically pleasing
- reasonably durable (won’t rot but are succeptible to cracking)
- water, fire and pest resistant
The CONs of building a brick retaining wall
- Labor intensive - each brick has to be meticulously grouted and mortared for structural integrity
- Prone to collapse/structural failure - can't be used to hold back large volumes of soil
Wood Retaining Walls
- Most affordable (has the cheapest upfront cost of any retaining wall material)
- West Coast natural look that matches the Vancouver landscape nicely
- Easy installation
- New standards of wood preservatives means no harmful chemicals went into treating the wood and it lasts a longer time
The CONs of going for a wood retaining wall
- Limited design options (straight lines)
- Chance of rot/infestation of insects if improperly treated (with this rainy Vancouver weather, properly treated wood is a must!)
- Prone to structural failure - doesn’t last as long as other material
- Braces, anchors, tie backs often necessary for wood to support weight of soil, so if you have a huge amount of land to uphold, can be very labour intensive
Concrete Block Retaining Walls
The PROs of choosing to build your retaining wall with concrete blocks
- Varied design options - create curves/corners and there are many different sizes and finishes you can choose from
- Straightforward installation
- Totally safe & stable
- Get more bang for your buck - your investment will last a lifetime. These retaining walls are built to stay put!
- Eco friendly choice - when you go with Dig, you'll be getting retaining wall blocks made from recycled concrete
The CONs of choosing a concrete block retaining wall solution
- Limited range of colors (it is concrete after all!)
- A larger investment (but well worth it as above)
When deciding to get a retaining wall replaced or built from scratch, it can be difficult to choose which option best is for your property. When Dig comes by your home to do a free retaining wall estimate, we will discuss with you the options available and use our expertise to make recommendations. It's a tough decision, but we're here to help you make it!