Early Chattanooga walls were made from easy to acquire local stone. The prevalence of limestone walls around the city is linked to the region’s limestone bedrock. Other wall materials used in the city include brick, cobblestone and cast-in-place concrete. Like fences, walls define space as well as manage grades to create gently sloping land. Walls are ubiquitous on the sloped lots of north Chattanooga.
- Shorter walls are appropriate in front yards and can be higher in back yards.
- High walls in front yards make houses feel fortified and makes the street feel less visible and safe.
- Using a series of shorter walls to create terraces is preferred over high walls. Shorter walls are cheaper, less likely to fail, easier to integrate in the landscape, reduce fall risk and create more accessible space.
- Walls are more expensive than fences but require less maintenance. Properly built walls can last more than 100 years without major repairs. Poorly built walls are expensive to repair and often cost more to fix than the original construction.
- When correctly used, walls mitigate steep grades and provide significant value and beauty. When used incorrectly walls can detract from house value and deter future buyers. High walls are more likely to fail and more dangerous when they do. They can be eyesores that create uncomfortable spaces, create fall risk and increase liability. Guard rails reduce liability but add construction maintenance costs.
- Walls in the city of Chattanooga require a permit to ensure they are properly engineered.
- Planting can be used in conjunction with walls to soften visual impact.