What are the different types and uses of retaining walls?

With just a drive through the Inland Empire area you will see a wide variety of retaining walls around homes, neighborhoods and businesses. The careful observer will note that there seems to be many different types of retaining walls for a variety of different purposes.

Retaining walls can be built for decorative or industrial purposes, and in many cases, for both.

Bella Terra Landscape Design Service will look closely at the types of retaining walls that are commonly seen in the Inland Empire area to help you choose which retaining wall would be best for your needs.

What is a Retaining Wall?

A retaining wall is a structure that holds back or retains enclosed material. This retaining wall can be decorative, used to hold back gardening soil in the front of a home or a structure that is used for leveling heavy grades holding back several tons of material. (property leveling)

Why use a Retaining Wall?

A retaining wall in the Inland Empire area wall can be used in a variety of applications however, the most common use would be to level a slope or grade. This leveling process allows for areas that were once unusable, because of the grade, to now be level. This concept can might be as simple as to level or raise a garden bed; all the way through creating additional yard space strong enough to park vehicles on.

Call Bella Terra Landscape Designs Today – (855) YARD-PLANS

What are some Common Reasons for using a Retaining Wall?

From a residential standpoint in the Inland Empire, some of the more useful reasons for a retaining wall might be:

  • A level area around the home for flowers and shrubbery
  • Leveling areas of the property by creating a wall that’s easier to care of for mowing and trimming
  • Around a pool area to help level the slope that is traditionally created when installing an inground or above ground pool
  • To elevate the soil and hide above ground roots for trees
  • To create a raised section underneath windows for plants

From a Commercial standpoint in the Inland Empire, some of the more useful reasons for a retaining wall might be:

  • Large area leveling of a slope
  • Property management solutions for rolling hills and useful hardscape development
  • Retaining wall structures and leveling strong enough for commercial development or vehicle parking.

Garden Retaining Walls

A garden retaining wall is a simple structure ranging between 6 inches and 2 feet that simply provides a decorative enclosure for a garden setting. Also called a screened wall this retaining structure is designed more for an attractive appearance than it is structural integrity. As the size of the garden and the height of the wall increases so does the need for adding a level of reinforcement to the overall build. This retaining wall structure can also be used to level the 5 to 10% grade seen in the front of many Inland Empire homes.

NOTE: Careful consideration should be made when creating a garden retaining wall. It should include the proper drainage and structure strength based upon its size. As the size of the structure increases so does the weight that the retaining wall holds back.

Call Bella Terra Landscape Designs Today – (855) YARD-PLANS

Drainage Considerations

Depending on the size and use of a retaining wall, one of its purposes is to maintain structural integrity when weight is applied. When a section is created, then filled with back dirt, soil, rock or gravel it will place additional weight and stress on the retaining wall.

When you add water from rain or run off, it significantly increases the weight that the retaining wall needs to effectively hold.

Part of a professionally installed retaining wall structure will be the addition of proper drainage so that water from rain or runoff can pass through without damaging or weakening the structure.

The Methodical Mindset

At Bella Terra Landscape Design, we utilize our years of design experience to produce a landscape design plan that exceeds the customers expectations. Beginning with a tour and discussion of the Inland Empire area yard we can create, in detail, a landscape design that will transform your backyard into an extension of your Inland Empire home. When choosing to have professional landscape services done, be sure to start with a competent design by a design team that has a methodical mindset. This mindset will provide the path to perfection for your Inland Empire area home.

Useful Links

Check out some of our Testimonials – Click Here

To learn more about our Bella Terra Landscape Design – Click Here

Benefits of retaining or retention walls

Retaining or retention walls are widely used in the hardscape and construction industry to solve many practical and aesthetic issues associated with erosion or property development in the Inland Empire area. Having many practical and aesthetic uses retaining or retention walls can also be very attractive, functional and add value to your home and property.

Bella Terra Landscape Design knows well the importance of retaining and retention walls for homes in the Inland Empire area; here are a few great benefits of retaining or retention walls.

Adding Value to Your Inland Empire Home

Curb appeal can often set the stage between whether a potential buyer might choose your Inland Empire area home or not. Homes that have a clean curb appeal with thoughtfully minded landscaping can really help increase your home’s value in both aesthetics and in property value.

For many Inland Empire area homes the slope of the yard can often deter a potential buyer knowing that a useful portion of the property is, by definition: unusable. By the addition of retaining or retention walls, along with thoughtfully minded landscaping, you can add form and function to your property assisting with curb appeal and increasing your property value.

No Shortage of Choices

As a professional Landscape design service, we know that there are practically no shortage of choices when it comes to blending the aesthetic of your retaining wall to your Inland Empire area home. When meeting with the owner, one of the determining factors will be, the materials used in the design and development of your retaining wall. Because retaining wall technology has been partnered with the aesthetical mindset over the many years; many choices are available to help you get a functional addition to your landscape as well as something that will accent the look of your home.

Call Bella Terra Landscape Designs Today – (855) YARD-PLANS

Low Maintenance and Durability

Once you have your retaining or retention walls professionally installed, very little maintenance is needed. By their very nature a properly constructed retaining wall can last for many years because they are designed to be rugged by necessity.

A properly constructed retaining wall can hold back thousands of pounds of earth and water over decades when quality materials and professional construction methods are utilized. Retention walls can provide structural slope retention integrity from 50° to 70° worth of angle meaning that you can have an eye catching and functional component to your Inland Empire landscape.

Eco-friendly Solutions

Retaining walls are made from natural, earth friendly materials backed by foundational sedimentary elements such as sand, gravel and river rock. Add to that the very nature and use of retention walls, to prevent erosion of landscape slopes, and you get an environmentally friendly option for your Inland Empire property. Because of the retaining walls capability to reduce erosion you also can see reduced disruption to the natural vegetation found in greater sloping and larger landscapes.

The Methodical Mindset

At Bella Terra Landscape Design, we utilize our years of design experience to produce a landscape design plan that exceeds the customers expectations. Beginning with a tour and discussion of the Inland Empire area yard we can create, in detail, a landscape design that will transform your backyard into an extension of your Inland Empire home. When choosing to have professional landscape services done, be sure to start with a competent design by a design team that has a methodical mindset. This mindset will provide the path to perfection for your Inland Empire area home.

Useful Links

Check out some of our Testimonials – Click Here

To learn more about our Bella Terra Landscape Design – Click Here

How Much Should a Professional Concrete Construction Service Charge?

At Bella Terra Landscape Design, we often get ask how much should the companies that utilize our designs charge to install or construct the different elements of the design. The old adage of “You get what you pay for” perhaps was perfectly coined for landscape services. Of any, in the service industry, that this might hold true for; Concrete Construction services perhaps fits this adage the best.

All you need to do is open the phone book or do a Google search to find dozens of companies or individuals in the Inland Empire area offering professional Concrete Construction services however, when you call these different services you quickly find out that there is a huge range of prices that are being provided for essentially the same services.

To better answer the question of: how much you should pay for a professional Concrete Construction project such as: driveways, patios, concrete staining and retention wall installation; let’s analyze what goes into the charges vs. the outcome.

Selecting the Right Professional Concrete Construction Company

When considering a professional concrete construction service, it’s important to get to know the company that you’re going to select prior to signing a contract. This is a service that you will be bringing into your Inland Empire area home, often without supervision, so it is important to make sure that you are hiring a professional construction service that you can trust.

Here’s a few questions that you might want to look into:

  • How long has the professional concrete construction service been in business?
  • Do they have a screening process for their employees to include drug and criminal background checks?
  • Do they use top-quality materials for their projects?
  • Are they locally owned and operated or a national chain?
  • Are they licensed and insured for your protection and theirs?
  • Do they use high-pressure sales personnel or does the owner participate in estimates?
  • Do they have a warranty or guarantee on products and workmanship?

A Professional Concrete Construction Company Expenses

With any business in the Inland Empire area, overhead is one of the main factors that determine the cost for a product or service. For the professional Concrete Construction industry, companies must compensate for business expenses such as advertising, wages, benefits, transportation, materials and equipment; not to mention proper state/ local licenses and being properly insured.

Companies that have less overhead can naturally charge, at times, less for their services… however, then this is where the adage really comes into play: “you get what you pay for”. Companies that skimp in these various areas mean that you may not getting the best products or services to offset what you’re paying for.

For example: A Concrete Construction company that would choose not to be properly licensed and insured would mean that they can charge less, because they have less overhead. However, if something should be damaged during your concrete project such as: driveways, patios, concrete staining and retaining wall installation due to inappropriate materials, carelessness or negligence of their employees… YOU are left with little to no recourse.

Call Bella Terra Landscape Designs Today – (855) YARD-PLANS

Price vs. Expectations

One thing that has been discovered in the professional Concrete Construction industry for the Inland Empire area is that there is a level of expectation that is perceived for Concrete Construction services rendered. This means that services that you hire to have done, you hold at a higher standard than services you would normally do yourself.

It is this very reason that professional Concrete Construction services may take twice as long to do a task that might be perceived as simple. This is because a professional Concrete Construction service knows that most customers will be giving them the “white glove” test; therefore, everything must be perfect.

It is also why you should insist on a walk-through upon completion. This is to make sure you are 100% satisfied before they leave, it will also help with a potential disagreement with any workmanship guarantee if something should be discovered within the guarantee period.

How Much Should a Professional Concrete Construction Service Charge?

Note the wording: professional. Comparisons that are made are from the viewpoint of a professional Concrete Construction service where they are properly compensating employees, using quality materials and are properly licensed and insured.

Most professional Concrete Construction companies will charge based upon the project. Professional Concrete Construction services typically calculate prices by one of three ways:

  • By the project
  • By the square foot
  • or combination of the two depending on the project

Some projects can be calculated based upon a [menu price rate x square footage = total price]. This equation allows for a competitive rate that only fluctuates based upon the size of the project. A driveway or sidewalk project would fall into this category.

Other times pricing must be determined based upon the projects needs such as a paver patio project. Because a paver patio process requires detailed measurements, specific materials that fluctuate in price and the overall design aesthetic that the client is looking for; a specific estimate would need to be calculated.

The Methodical Mindset

At Bella Terra Landscape Design, we utilize our years of design experience to produce a landscape design plan that exceeds the customers expectations. Beginning with a tour and discussion of the Inland Empire area yard we can create, in detail, a landscape design that will transform your backyard into an extension of your Inland Empire home. When choosing to have professional landscape services done, be sure to start with a competent design by a design team that has a methodical mindset. This mindset will provide the path to perfection for your Inland Empire area home.

Useful Links

Check out some of our Testimonials – Click Here

To learn more about our Bella Terra Landscape Design – Click Here

Choosing Concrete VS. Pavers for your Inland Empire Area Home

image of concrete work - Landscape design in the Inland Empire areaWhen it comes to a beautifully finished hardscape for the garden at your Inland Empire area home, material choices are a key factor. The style, look and theme of the hardscape naturally plays a large part in this decision-making process, as well as the landscape you are working within; but by using the appropriate materials can help bring authenticity and texture to the hardscape.

In this article we will discuss two specific finishes: Concrete and interlocking pavers,

Don’t Consider Budget, Consider the Outcome

When looking at a side-by-side comparison of concrete and interlocking pavers it is important to note that both look great when installed correctly and both can have long lasting disappointment if proper preparations and installation guidelines are not followed. Both will give us the functional seating and walking areas needed for our desired spaces at our Inland Empire area home. Both can define the yard boundary, softscaping and of course; come with their own specific installation process and cost.

If you are the type of customer that is more interested in matching the style, look and theme of the hardscape that you are working towards; it is important not to consider the price so much as the outcome. Price conscience customers should weigh the pros and cons of each rather than esthetical value.

Concrete: The Affordable and Versatile Option

There are many options when it comes to concrete finishes for your Inland Empire area home. There is the basic gray, which is the easiest to obtain and least expensive of the two options. It can be crafted to obtain the desired texture with a broom, salt, a textured finish (sometimes referred to as “stamped”) providing on the look that you are going for. A bit more flare can be added by ordering the concrete from the plant pre-mixed to a specific color. This can of course be finished with the previously noted options. Today there are a multitude of stamping patterns to choose from making concrete a great option for a really custom look. Stamping textures from a slate, flagstone, cobble stone, even wood grain finishes are available.

Concrete Shortcuts will Shortchange You in the Long Run

Because concrete has a tendency to crack over a period of time, proper preparation of the areas to except the concrete is vital to increase the time before cracking begins. Grading, compaction and rebar or mesh is often added prior to the concrete being installed on site. The concrete’s PSI is also important as the higher the number, the stronger the finish will have helping to reduce cracks that appear over time. The key with any colored concrete application is to have it properly sealed. Sealants will ensure the color does not fade over time with the Inland Empire area’s harmful sun. There are glossy or matt finish sealants available depending on the desired look.

NOTE: Sealants must be re-applied every few years to continue to protect the concrete finish. This is a simple process that any homeowner can do with basic pump sprayer.

Call Bella Terra Landscape Designs Today – (855) YARD-PLANS

Image of pavers - Landscape design in the Inland Empire areaInterlocking pavers: not as pricey as they once were

Interlocking pavers add a touch of class and elegance to your hardscape project. For years interlocking pavers were often perceived as “too expensive”, which is no longer the case. Over the last few years the price has come down for interlocking pavers making it an affordable option that will help complete the hardscape look that you are going for. The price decrease has come from an increase of competing manufacturers and the fact that more landscape installation contractors are offering pavers as an option.

The interlocking pavers have some advantages over concrete: they typically come with a 25 year to a lifetime manufacturer guarantee (on average), they are designed not to crack as concrete often will. When properly installed the interlocking pavers will shift with the earth and not have the issues that concrete will over time. Pavers can cost anywhere from 30-50 percent more than concrete

Pavers, like concrete, have many finish options to choose from as well. Not only do they come in different colors, sizes and patterns; but today manufacturers have pavers that look flagstone and even some that are textured on top to look like slate. Whether a clean stream lined finish is desired or an old world tumbled effect is desired, pavers are a great option to consider.

Proper prep is just as important as concrete

Like concrete, proper preparation of the area(s) to receive the pavers is key. Preparation methods such as grading, soil and base material compaction are foundational and necessary. Is also important to have thin base of sand to properly level the pavers for great, long-lasting look. Traditionally, the perimeter of the paver area is mortared with concrete while the infill is installed over the sand base.  Once the pavers are installed the final application is to either use a special type of sand swept in-between the joint lines and compacted. Optionally, standard sand is used, followed by a sealant application. This will prevent the sand in between the joints from dispersing over time preventing weeds from growing in-between them. The sealant of course will also protect the color finish from the sun as in with colored concrete.

The Conclusion of the Matter

Because of the recent decrease in pricing making pavers more affordable, the biggest difference between the two materials is longevity and individual preference or appearance. Pavers, while cheaper now than before, still cost more than concrete; so cost still remains a factor for some installations. This alone will deter some from choosing the paver option, but when considering the long term nature of concrete such as maintenance and cracking, pavers over time can balance the upfront costs.

The Methodical Mindset

At Bella Terra Landscape Design, we utilize our years of design experience to produce a landscape design plan that exceeds the customers expectations. Beginning with a tour and discussion of the Inland Empire area yard we can create, in detail, a landscape design that will transform your backyard into an extension of your Inland Empire home. When choosing to have professional landscape services done, be sure to start with a competent design by a design team that has a methodical mindset. This mindset will provide the path to perfection for your Inland Empire area home.

Useful Links

Check out some of our Testimonials – Click Here

To learn more about our Bella Terra Landscape Design – Click Here