As a major full-service landscaping contractor here in Calgary for over three generations, we here at Mirage Landscaping have long offered our clients our ability to construct retaining walls.
Whether a two and one half foot enclosed tree or flower planting bed that is easier to mow and trim around, or a massive structure designed to keep a hillside at bay, we have built them all throughout Calgary these past decades. Like everything else, landscaping retaining walls have come a long way since we put up our first one. Today, when you are contemplating retaining wall ideas for your Calgary area home it is really only the schematics and your imagination that are the limit to what you can do!
There are two broad categories of retaining walls erected in Calgary by landscaping companies such as ours: the structural and the ornamental retaining wall.
The Structural Retaining Wall
There is nothing saying that a structural retaining wall can not be attractive or ornamental — only that such a wall is also performing its time honoured reason for existing. It is retaining, (and hopefully draining), the earth trapped behind it.
The most common reason Mirage Landscaping is asked to build retaining walls by our Calgary area clients is create level spaces on their lots where there were none. It does not take a very aggressive grade to begin seeing the effects of rain and snow melt runoff carrying water and/or soil to where it is not wanted. In some instances, the threat of uncontrolled water or poorly thought out drainage by your property developer is to the foundation of the house itself. Groundwater building up or water continually pouring across your property can attack your concrete foundation via the freeze/thaw cycle, which can be pretty crazy in Calgary.
If you live on a lot where your house site is the only level thing about it, you are frankly a good candidate for retaining wall construction.
Whatever the actual brick or stone chosen, the structural retaining wall is doing a job. It is essential that you hire a firm that will do a thorough and professional job. You need a landscaping contractor, like us, who works with engineers throughout the Calgary area, to ensure your retaining walls are scientifically designed rather than “eyeballed.” It is critical to the success of the wall that it is mounted upon a sufficiently strong levelling pad. Your contractor has to build a swale using the correct amount of compacted fill dirt behind the wall, teamed with the correct depth and breadth of drainage aggregate, and finished with an impermeable cap over the aggregate and the correct number of daylight drain pipes to control the expected water drainage volume out of the hillside.
Ornamental Retaining Walls
Fortunately, holding back a hillside is not the only reason to build a retaining wall. The laying of brick and stone can visually transform any yard, front or back. Imagine that instead of some poured concrete steps and a plain sidewalk leading up to your front door you could have a low slung decorative wall with a brick series of steps and a walk up with built in flower planters along the top. Your house couldn’t be more welcoming to family, neighbours, and strangers alike.
Low retaining walls can also serve as planters for trees, or vegetable gardens, or even as perfectly level spots to mount play structures. Perhaps you have a favorite shade tree that you can’t stand striking the bark from with your line trimmer? A brick surround could be built around it at a bench height that would provide a cool seating surface where you could read a book, or a tablet if you prefer, all while providing protection to your tree.
Other clients of ours at Mirage Landscaping have also transformed drab concrete backyard patio slabs into a wonderland of backyard entertaining. The best part is that the slab need not be demolished to begin the makeover. By using pavers, the slab is just the beginning of a flow that can include a built in fire pit, open top flower planters, or even a water feature built into a wall, creating your private area to get away from the world. The scope of your dreams is really unlimited when the walls involved are ornamental.
The bottom line is that Mirage Landscaping has the experience, the expertise, the equipment, and the dedicated work force necessary to execute your retaining wall vision. Best of all, we offer free quotes.