If you’re looking for a highly versatile and unique material for your Newport Beach, CA, home’s landscape design, timber can be an answer. It ticks all the right boxes in both form and function. However, given the scarcity of timber in modern landscape design, it is important to have a contractor familiar with the nuances of working with this material to ensure your design is executed to its full potential.
Timber offers a variety of advantages that make it ideal for landscape construction. Wood in general is highly flexible but strong and dense, with excellent load bearing capabilities. Moreover, the wide variety of tree species means that you can find specific types of timber that suit your application exactly. Timber is also relatively easy to work with as it can be easily cut and shaped to any specifications and requires no mortar or jointing compounds.
Old and New Design Styles
Moreover, wood looks perfectly at home in most traditional and modern landscapes. The warmth emanated by wood, coupled with the random patterns and imperfections of the grain, make it the epitome of a characterful, rustic material. In more modern designs, it can be used more subtly and tastefully alongside glass and metal to contrast cool, hard elements and give your design some warmth.
One popular application of timber in landscape construction is in the construction of retaining walls. Especially in yards with lots of foliage, these walls can look right at home and blend into the background. However, special attention must be paid during the design and construction to ensure the wall is as strong as its stone counterpart.
One factor is the size and availability of the timber. Long pieces of timber generally give you a stronger wall and require less work, but tend to be harder to source and significantly more expensive. Smaller pieces, on the other hand, require a concrete foundation with metal uprights for support. Railway ties are an increasingly popular alternative as they are both less expensive, strong and recycled, although their extensive preservative treatment can result in odors in the hot Californian summer. Drainage is also an important consideration as we want to minimize the wood’s contact with water to prevent rot and maximize the longevity and strength of the wall.
Timber decking is another common application where we see the advantages of working with this material. The flexibility of working with wood means decks can be molded to all manner of designs and shapes, as well as stained or painted to suit surrounding elements and features. Moreover, they are lightweight and require less intensive foundations than concrete platforms. Timber decks can also be complemented with railings and steps which offer the advantage of not requiring mortar in their construction.
Choosing the Right Timber
The choice of which type of timber to use is a highly important determiner of the longevity of your design. This is where the expertise of your contractor comes into play. Any timber used in construction should be pressure treated with a quality preservative, especially in applications such as retaining walls and steps where it is in constant contact with soil and water. More importantly, any pieces of wood that are cut or drilled during the construction process should be retreated with a sealant. While pressure treated softwoods are generally less expensive, hardwoods are the optimal choice in terms of longevity.