Construction 101: Retaining Walls


Construction 101: Retaining Walls

Imagine working on your property. You later realize that you have to control and hold back excess soil in an area. So, what do you do? You install a retaining wall, of course. A retaining wall will do all the dirt and rock retaining. But what is a retaining wall? What does it do? Would it be expensive to install one? We will answer these questions and learn a lot more in the following piece.

Basics: Defining What Is A Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a structure that holds back soil from getting to a location. It also withstands lateral soil pressure. This pressure is the result of the following:

  • Earth filling
  • Liquid pressure
  • Sand
  • Other minerals behind the wall

The Types Of Retaining Walls

Poured concrete retaining wall

A poured concrete retaining wall is one of the most durable walls you can install on your property. It utilizes poured concrete, meaning you have some options when working with it. You can do the following to concrete:

  • Stamp
  • Carve
  • Veneer
  • Stain

The neat thing about these variations is that they have specific features that make them unique. Your poured concrete retaining wall will surely live up to its reputation, regardless of what you do with the concrete.

Another type of concreate retaining wall is the sleeper retaining wall. They are one of the most durable retaining wall system you can get.

Gabion retaining wall

A gabion retaining wall involves multiple wire mesh boxes. Workers will fill the boxes with rocks and other suitable construction materials. This type of wall also works well for areas with steep slopes.

Metal retaining wall

A metal retaining wall uses steel as its primary component. The best thing about metal retaining walls is that they are economical and efficient. They work well even in sites with space constraints.

Gravity walls

Gravity retaining walls depend on their mass and height to set back the soil. These kinds of walls tend to “lean” on the soil to prevent it from getting anywhere.

Wood retaining walls

As the name suggests, these walls utilize wood. Wood does not cost an arm and leg, unlike concrete and other materials. The best part about using wood for retaining walls is that they blend in with the landscape. However, wood has a limited lifespan and is susceptible to termite attacks.

Brick retaining walls

If you have plans to have an aesthetic appeal for your landscape, brick is your ideal material. Brick walls are durable, eco-friendly, and require minimal maintenance. They also do a decent job of complimenting the materials and fauna around them.

Things To Consider

One does not simply build a retaining wall. There are some things you have to take note of before you install one on your property.


It is paramount that you have a complete understanding of the site’s property lines. The same goes for above-ground and underground utilities, such as drainage, irrigation, stormwater management systems, and so on. It will also pay to know if the site rests on a slope or not.


You have to also put soil into consideration. It will be the foundation where your retaining wall will be permanently set. You have to examine the dirt to make sure it can support the structure. To be perfect for retaining walls, the material should be:

  • Firm
  • Strong
  • Dry / doesn’t get moist easily


It is also crucial to consider drainage for the area. Water is responsible when it comes to walls breaking and wearing down. You have to set up a drainage system that will protect the structure. It will also prevent any water build-ups in the setting.


It is more than aesthetic appeal when it comes down to design. There are technicalities you have to figure out, including wall height, footprint size, slopes, setback angles, and so on.

Getting Professionals To Do The Job

It is not an easy task to work on a retaining wall. One wrong move can cause the entire thing. We’re not even joking with that one. So if you have doubts when making one on your own, it would be best to let the pros step in. There are thousands of companies online that cater to prime retaining walls and other services. All it takes is for you to look for the perfect one. Do remember that you will have to pay for their services, so you better prepare your wallet. But it will not harm you to discuss financial matters with a contracting company before work starts. Doing so guarantees both parties end up with smiles.

Walls For Good

Having a retaining wall does more than making your setting look pretty. It has a significant role in making sure no soil creeps into your property. You can work on a retaining wall with no expert assistance. But if things get too complicated or challenging, you can get the pros to do the work on your behalf.

Spread the love

Similar Posts