Do I need a Retaining Wall in my yard?

Writtey by Elisa on Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 11:24 pm. Posted in Landscape construction, natural stone Retaining wall, outdoor patio stairs, Patio Construction, remodeling, retaining wall, retaining walls, stone Firepit Construction

Retaining Wall with Patio and Firepit

Many Maryland homeowners have yards that they cannot utilize due to steep slopes or uneven grades.  Some problems may also be due to washed out or eroded areas that just cannot support new plantings or grass. Retaining walls are a great way to correct those issues and create a whole new usable outdoor space. There are many types and styles of retaining walls that can be constructed to meet the homeowner’s needs.

A retaining wall is a stabilizing structure used to hold sloping ground in place and to prevent the erosion and the movement of soil. It must be substantial and sturdy enough to accommodate and redistribute the lateral pressure caused by sloping ground. It is normally designed with weep holes, which allow collected ground water to escape. This releases the additional pressure created by accumulated water and helps keep the wall stable.

Retaining walls can be a creative way to support new soils used to level a backyard area or hold back an area that is excavated out to create a patio or driveway extension. Retaining walls can also have dual or multiple uses. These walls work great for creating extra seating around patios or incorporate landscape features such as fire pits or built-in outdoor grills.  Low walls can also create unique borders for an elevated landscape area or garden.   Elevated patios that are built using a retaining wall system can develop into a stunning multi-level patio system with different elevations to create several different outdoor rooms all within one landscape.

Many erosion and drainage issues can also be solved with a retaining wall system. These systems can be used to reduce the slope and help develop a sustainable growing environment. Some of the walls can also be constructed to channel, divert, or collect storm water. After the water is controlled, the walls will direct the flow of the run-off and work with support systems like catch basins, or county storm water collection ponds.

Winter is almost here but KW Landscaping is still working hard to make your backyard the space of your dreams. KW Landscaping will be taking on new outdoor construction projects, such as retaining walls, patios, fire pits and decks, to create your outdoor paradise. Email KW Landscaping for more information or a custom quote.

Retaining Wall with stone steps

Build it right the first time – why you need flashing when building a deck or patio.

Writtey by Elisa on Friday, October 31st, 2014 at 7:03 pm. Posted in flashing, front porch renovation, Landscape construction, Landscape Maintenance, remodeling, wood rot

Many homeowners and contractors have pulled off an aging outdoor deck to discover siding, sheathing and framing that’s rotting away underneath. More often than not, a major contributor is worn or missing flashing. Without flashing, there’s nothing to prevent water from seeping behind the ledger board that connects deck framing to the house. The same can be said for the ledger board and flashing installation for patios as well. Over time, trapped water leads to decay, not only in wood building materials, but even in metal fasteners that hold the deck together. The result is never good, and often expensive and time-consuming to repair.

So what is flashing? It’s a thin layer of waterproof material that keeps water from getting into places it doesn’t belong. (Caulk is fine for filling small gaps around windows and doors, but it shouldn’t be confused with flashing.)

no flashing and rot
KW Landscaping discovered no flashing and rot behind the old steps of this home 











remove rotten wood
Removed all the rotten wood, down to insulation










You can count on one thing; water flows unerringly towards the ground. As water travels, flashing carries it safely over the any crevices, cracks and gaps in the building’s exterior.

If it’s going to work, flashing must be installed so no seams face uphill. It’s usually layered with other building materials. The upper edge of flashing, for instance, is protected by house wrap or tarpaper, not installed over it.

replacing rotted wood
Replaced the wood with pressure treated lumber










installing flashing
Installed aluminum flashing, two layers for better protection










If you wonder whether flashing has been installed the way it’s supposed to be, follow a drop of rain water as it moves down the side of your house. It should be carried from surface to surface all the way down, never encountering an open seam or an upturned lip that blocks its progress.

flashing installed
Started putting things back together










When it comes to the deck, a strip of flashing is brought down the wall of the house and over the top of the ledger (the piece of dimensional lumber attached to the house at the edge of the deck). This all-important water barrier should extend up the wall at least 4 in.

KW Landscaping will always use flashing when completing your deck or patio to ensure a level of quality that you can rely on for years to come. Email KW Landscaping with any questions or to schedule an estimate.

front porch remodel
Finished product. Rot is removed and flashing has been properly installed.












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