Patio retaining walls prevent the erosion of planting areas around patios.
They modify the grade of the land in a way that adds stability to the entire surrounding area. This results in a better utilization of space by managing the grade of the land in a controlled manner that contributes dimension, vertical impact, and accent to adjoining landscape elements.
Many Houston landscaping clients are surprised to learn just how important these structures can be in a terrain as flat as that of the Gulf Coast. However, when we consider how our weather cycle affects the claylike constitution of our soil, we can see why we need erosion control.
In the summer, our Gulf Coast soil will crack open during times of no rain. The heat will cause these cracks to form large fissures that later close back on themselves when rain and cold finally arrive. This cycle of expansion and contraction will form low places in the lawn that ruin the uniformity of a Houston landscaping design.
This phenomenon is particularly pronounced around any sort of hardscape.
Here, rainwater can flow along the edge of the structure and wash plants away along with the soil. A patio retaining wall is an excellent way to stop this erosion before it begins. It can also add dramatic dimension to a patio in a way that magnifies the curb appeal of the entire property.
A wall like this does not have to be very tall to work on both levels. In our part of the world, a wall only two or three feet high is all that is necessary to prevent erosion. From an aesthetic standpoint, the visual impact of the structure derives more from the materials used to build it than it does on its actual physical size. A patio retaining wall built from large rocks will look large to the mind even though it may only be two feet high in actual size.
Other materials besides natural rock can also be used as construction materials. Brick walls, walls made of concrete blocks, and walls made of decorative concrete pieces fashioned to imitate other materials can be integrated into any Houston landscaping style ranging from the formal to the avant garde and contemporary.
Such a structure is far more reaching with its visual impact than the immediate boundaries of the hardscape itself.
By creating a definitive rise around even one portion of a flat surface, a patio retaining wall can support every other vertical form that falls within a 180 degree arc behind its edifice. This magnifies a home when one is looking over the wall toward the house, and it adds perspective to a yard when one is looking beyond the wall from the position of the house.
In order to balance the functional purpose of the wall with its aesthetic intention, it is very important to have a Houston landscaping professional carefully design the structure in proper scale and scope to the home, surrounding landscape elements, and any significant landscape architecture on the property. To fully integrate the form with other features of the yard, it is also necessary, in most Houston landscaping master plans, to soften the visual impact of a patio retaining wall with carefully selected plant life that will unify structural engineering with the vitality of nature itself.