Minneapolis Retaining Wall

by Matt Goering

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A Minneapolis retaining wall is one of those home improvement jobs that comes in just about every shape and size imaginable. Because of that, it's important that you understand the ins and outs of building a retaining wall in Minneapolis, whether you're thinking of building a few small walls in order to bring variety to your landscaping; or you're considering a large, load-bearing retaining wall to make a major family room addition possible on your sloped lot.

Minneapolis Retaining Walls in Landscaping
Minneapolis retaining walls can serve many purposes. By far, the most common reason for an average Twin Cities homeowner to have one built is for landscaping reasons. Walls that range from a few inches to several feet high can transform your yard from a boring flat plain into exciting terra firma. And while several well-placed retaining walls can work wonders for your terrain, a Minneapolis retaining wall is also a great way to create borders, and distinguish different beds and areas of your yard from another. Finally, terracing steep slopes with retaining walls can actually create valuable space in places that are virtually unusable if they are not built up and leveled off.

Fighting Erosion with a Minneapolis Retaining Wall
Besides landscaping, fighting erosion is another prime reason that retaining walls are built in Minneapolis-St. Paul. With summer thunderstorms that can dump inches of rain on the Twin Cities in a matter of minutes or hours, steep slopes that are not reinforced can lead to severe erosion, destruction of your landscaping, and, if your dirt ends up in the neighbor's driveway, some heated neighborhood disputes as well. A well-placed retaining wall in Minneapolis is the best way to combat erosion in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area since it will help to level off your lot and slow down the flow of runoff, which prevents your topsoil and flower beds from washing away as well.

A Minneapolis Retaining Wall and Larger Projects
The third most common residential use of retaining walls is for larger construction projects. If you live on sloped land, retaining walls are often required to provide the necessary footing for large scale additions such as family rooms, kitchen expansions, or extra bedrooms. Furthermore, they can be invaluable when it comes to installing luxuries such as large patios and swimming pools on steep terrain where such projects wouldn't otherwise be possible.

Constructing Minneapolis Retaining Walls
Determining your needs is just the first step of building a retaining wall. Minneapolis is the kind of city where there are a host of other decisions to make, ranging from which materials you ought to use to whether you're going to try to tackle the job yourself. The decision of which materials to use is usually decided by a combination of looks, function, and ease of installation. Building a small retaining wall for a new flower bed, for example, can be done easily by homeowners who have a long weekend and a supply of interlocking landscaping blocks ready. Holding up your family room addition, on the other hand, requires a little more planning. You'll probably pour a concrete retaining wall, or build one from cinder blocks or stone, either of which should be done by a knowledgeable contractor to ensure it's done right. Having a landscaping wall fail and losing a couple flowers is one thing. Having the back wall of your new addition begin to pull away from the house because you improperly calculated the size, scale, and reinforcement requirements of the retaining wall that's holding it up is another thing entirely.

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Building a Sound Retaining Wall: Minneapolis's Seasoned Pros
The professionals know: local weather conditions are one of the most important things to consider when constructing a retaining wall. Minneapolis is not home to the mildest climate in the nation, so it's easy to understand why having a local professional on your team is such a big deal when building a retaining wall. Minneapolis-St. Paul is known for freezing temperatures during the winter, but residents know that summers are no picnic, either. The incredible temperature fluctuations and precipitation patterns the Twin Cities experience each year can quickly cause retaining walls that appear sound to become less stable.

While some experienced local homeowners might be able to successfully battle the detrimental effects of local climate conditions for smaller landscaping walls, if a Minneapolis retaining wall is going to be over four feet in height, hiring a seasoned professional is an absolute must. Once you hit four feet, the extra reinforcement and anchors you'll need make it far more difficult for the average do-it-yourselfer to perform this job without assistance.

Finding Experienced Minneapolis Retaining Wall Contractors
When you need to find a reputable contractor, HomeAdvisor is there to make the task easier. While the phone book will give you several contractors to choose from, the local yellow pages are sorely lacking when it comes to informing you of how well these contractors might perform. Every contractor HomeAdvisor will link you with has passed a thorough ten-step screening process, to make sure they are on the up-and-up. To top it all off, HomeAdvisor posts ratings and reviews left by homeowners who have used these contractors in the past; this gives you a much clearer idea of how a particular company is likely to perform for you!

Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.