ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Ervin Bullock says her home in the Vilano Beach area is standing after Irma because of her new sea wall that she installed after Hurricane Matthew last year.

"The sea wall saved us," she said.

She and her husband did not have one when Hurricane Matthew struck the area. The waves from that storm ate away their yard, right up underneath their home.

Bullock said she, like many people, didn't want to get a sea wall.

"No! We didn't want one, but you just kind of had to do it," she noted.

She pointed to the beachfront homes that did well during Irma noting that they have sea walls. The houses without sea walls did not do well at all, like her neighbor's. Irma ate away his entire yard, up to his house.

"Our neighbor came down Saturday," she noted. "He's decided to build a sea wall. We're thrilled because that protects us, him, and the neighbor south of him."

That's because water that hits his yard won't whip around the side of her wall and pull the sand away from her yard.

Also, when a sea wall goes up, it can mean more damage to property next to it without a wall. A house that toppled into the ocean did not have a sea wall.

"The house next to it had a strong seawall and the waves came in," Bullock said. "They gotta go somewhere. They hit that seawall and keep pushing in... and they carved him out and the house fell in. "

Bullock's sea wall is permanent. It's strong and sturdy. Her other neighbor has a temporary sea wall, but his still wasn't enough to keep the storm waters from damaging the house.

While Bullock wishes her beach didn't have as many sea walls, she believes it's now necessary.

"Once you get this many seawalls, I don't think you can survive if you don't have one," she said. "Not with the storms we've been having."