What are the considerations in building retaining walls?

Retaining wall is an overlooked but one of the most essential components of landscaping. The retaining walls are built to keep the soil, sand, and the rocks in place. For the properties that are built on slope, a retaining wall becomes necessary for keeping the slope intact in its original form. These walls are made of stone, cement, brick, Allen block and wood and they help in stabilizing slopes and slants in your yard. Though it may appear that are very simple to design or construct but it needs experience and expertise to build reliable walls.

Retaining Walls

Overview of the Science

At the beginning of building a retaining structure, it is important to consider possible problems that may arise due to the wall’s design. For example, if the wall is not designed to retain water, it is important to incorporate features like a drainage site so the water pressure due to the accumulated water behind the wall drains out effectively.

Analysis of soil

Depending on the force that can be exerted on the wall, the soil or land should be analyzed to determine what types of reinforcements the structure may need. The gravitational pull, the horizontal force of the soil, the angle, design and necessary aspects need to be included in the project and must be analysed by the engineer.

Types of Materials Used

Cement: Cement is one of the most commonly used materials that can be used to build the retaining wall. The structure built with cement will require you to have the best design in place to keep the wall from absorbing moisture from the surroundings. The retaining wall will need some reinforcement with rocks and stones.

Another material used is stone or rock. These walls are aesthetically pleasing and are used in modern designs. These walls are used mainly for homes or buildings with slopes and slants in their yards.

Types of retaining walls

The retaining walls are of three main types

  • Gravity walls: Gravity walls will need a professional excavator to dig a trench for its construction. The gravity retaining walls lean into the retained earth and are sometimes even flexible.
  • Piling walls: Sheet piling wall is another type of retaining wall. This technique is used in spaces that are less and the land that has soft soil. Steel, wood planks or vinyl sheets are used for the construction of this wall. The material is driven into the ground to create a wall with or without anchor.

Cantilever walls

Cantilever walls are constructed using steel-reinforced techniques in order to make the soil secure. Buttresses or shorter wing-walls are employed along the main retaining walls to provide that extra support to the main structure. This wall requires fewer materials for construction. It must be remembered to put the base of the wall placed below the frost point of the ground to keep it stable in all weather situations.

Anchored wall

Anchored walls are simply any of the above mentioned walls that use an anchor for added support. Cables, pressurized concrete, and other mechanisms do the needful.

The decision of which type of wall will be made depends on

  • The condition of the soil
  • The purpose of the wall
  • Space that is available to work

No matter what type of retaining wall is constructed or the materials is used, it is always advisable to hire a professional builder to plan as well as design the wall according to your needs. This will ensure that not only you get a retaining wall but also a wall that is durable and reliable as it is made keeping in mind all the aspects of engineering.


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