Even though concrete block seems to be the most commonly used construction material for raised beds and retaining walls in the residential landscape, I personally find wood (treated wood timbers in particular) to be superior in many ways.
For starters, not only is wood a completely renewable resource, but a properly installed treated wood structure (including adequate drainage) will easily last 20-25 years. In my opinion, a beautifully designed and constructed wood timber planting box, retaining wall, etc. is far more natural in appearance and complementary to adjacent plant material than its concrete counterpart. I realize that an argument can be made in that concrete block installations are more expensive because they are to be considered “forever” where wood will eventually deteriorate over time. This point is absolutely correct in that the concrete block itself will likely outlast it’s owner! However, it is my experience that even a professionally installed concrete block wall (with suitable drainage) will eventually shift from long term exposure to seasonal water freeze/thaw cycles, nearby expanding tree root growth, nearby excavation/digging, etc. making it’s segmented formal installation approach somewhat less desirable both visually and structurally when failure finally occurs. Even though treated wood timbers do not easily lend themselves to curved type/designed landscape installations like segmental block units can, they still get my unabashed vote in the landscape design process whenever possible.
Here are a few tips to extend the life and improve the quality of your next wood timber installation project.
– Use properly treated wood timbers rated for direct soil contact according to the American Wood Protection Standard (UC4A – Ground Contact General Use).
– Use large dimensioned properly rated/treated wood timbers whenever possible. By choosing a minimum sized 6″ x 6″ treated wood timber (in lieu of 3″ x 5″, 4″ x 4″ or 4″ x 6″ timbers) will be less likely to warp and twist over time.
– Apply a suitable preservative to all end cuts made during the installation process.
– Prevent “always wet” soil conditions below/around wood timber structure by installing suitable drainage improvements wherever necessary.
– Use a suitable stone sub-base below initial course of wood timbers to further improve water drainage and to strengthen the overall installation.
Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for assistance with your next wood timber installation project. Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!
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