Alternatives to a Landscape Stone Wall Alternatives to a Landscape Stone Wall

A landscape stone wall is not only a stunning addition to a property line, it adds a measure of value to a home’s worth. Whether it is secured with mortar or securely stacked, a stone wall sharply defines your home’s front lawn. It can create terraces for gardening while replacing old shrubs or grass as a means of preventing erosion. There are, however, alternatives to stone walls. If you are set on erecting a wall for landscaping purposes, consider a brick wall or a timber retaining wall as a viable alternative to stone, but keep in mind, there are some pros and cons for each type.

Brick Wall: Advantages

  • Cost—Standard dressed bricks typically cost between 25 cents and $1 each depending on the style. Building blocks or cinderblocks cost even less. These are not quite as attractive as the familiar red mason bricks, but they can often be used as the foundation of support underneath a layer or red bricks.
  • Portability—Since bricks are small and relatively lightweight, they are extremely portable. Several hundred can fit into a hatchback passenger car–even more in a light pickup truck.
  • Creativity—Brickwork lends itself to creative designs. Because they are smaller than stone slabs, they are easier to work with, letting you be quite creative with the wall’s layout. Plus, you have several shapes and tones to choose from.

Disadvantages

  • Workload—Mixing and applying mortar, laying out the brick in a pattern that is both consistent and strong, and the use of foundational support are all things you will have to contend with. Depending on the size of the wall, it may take you several full days to complete it.
  • Water Absorption—More than likely there will be several cubic yards of dirt right up against one side of the wall, and so the threat of water saturation should be taken seriously. Look into brick wall lining to keep water out.
  • Non-durability—If brick walls are not laid correctly in a pattern that is consistently strong, they could end up being not very durable. It would be wise to consult with someone who has some know-how before you begin to mortar the wall.

Timber Retaining Wall: Advantages

  • Strength—A timber wall combines both strength and natural beauty. The individual units of timber are usually quite thick and several feet in length.
  • Easy to build—Depending on the design, timber walls take little or no experience to build.
  • Wood choices—There are many types of wood to choose from, such as redwood or cedar, to name a couple.

Disadvantages

  • Cost—Timber can be expensive, especially large pieces of redwood, for example.
  • Life expectancy—Timber, even pressure-treated, is vulnerable to predators such as termites and is susceptible to rotting. It will last a shorter time than brick or stone due to the simple fact that water will break it down faster.

There are alternatives to using stone to build a landscape wall. Brick and pressure-treated timber are two such options. Carefully weigh both the pros and cons before you decide which material to work with. Cost, durability, length of life and how much work you would like to do are among the factors you should consider.

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