Find The Best Retaining Wall For Your Project
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the endless choices available when planning a home improvement project? Are you unsure about which type of retaining wall is the perfect fit for your specific needs?
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the different types of retaining walls and help you determine the best one for your project.
By the end, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that adds value, functionality, and beauty to your property.
By Project: The Best Retaining Wall
Creating More Space
If you’re looking to create more space in your yard, gravity retaining walls and crib retaining walls are excellent options.
They can be built to various heights, providing the strength necessary to hold back large amounts of soil. Plus, they’re generally more cost-effective than other retaining wall types.
Creating A Garden Or Flower Bed
When it comes to beautifying your outdoor space with a garden or flower bed, bin retaining walls and combination retaining walls are ideal choices.
These walls can be easily customized to fit the size and shape of your yard while also adding a decorative element to your landscaping.
Creating A Terraced Garden
Gravity retaining walls and reinforced soil retaining walls are well-suited for constructing terraced gardens.
They offer the stability needed for each level, allowing you to create a visually appealing and functional multi-tiered space.
For erosion prevention, consider gabion retaining walls and sheet pile retaining walls.
These permeable walls allow water to flow through without eroding the soil, making them durable and long-lasting solutions for areas with heavy rainfall or steep slopes.
Stabilizing A Sloped Foundation
An anchored retaining wall or embedded retaining wall is a reliable choice for stabilizing a sloped foundation.
By providing necessary support, these walls prevent soil movement and foundation damage.
Building A Driveway
For driveway construction, bin retaining walls and combination retaining walls are your best bet.
They can be easily customized to fit the size and shape of the driveway area, ensuring a functional and attractive final result.
Supporting A Driveway Or Parking Area
Cantilever retaining walls and anchored or embedded retaining walls are ideal for supporting a driveway or parking area.
Designed to hold back heavy loads, these walls are also space-efficient solutions for projects with limited room.
Adding A Patio Or Outdoor Living Area
Buttressed retaining walls and reinforced soil retaining walls are perfect for adding a patio or outdoor living area.
They provide the stability necessary for supporting a structure while creating a smooth, level surface for your new addition.
Building A Raised Patio Or Deck
To construct a raised patio or deck, consider using a cantilever retaining wall or a reinforced retaining wall.
These walls offer the required support to hold back soil and maintain the structure’s integrity.
Adding A Swimming Pool
For swimming pool (or swimming pond) installations, reinforced soil retaining walls and cantilever retaining walls provide the necessary stability to hold back soil and create a level surface.
Creating A Sound Barrier
A buttressed retaining wall is an excellent option for creating a sound barrier, providing the support and stability needed to reduce noise from busy streets or highways.
What Types Of Retaining Walls Work Best For Which Projects
Gravity Retaining Walls
Gravity retaining walls rely on their own weight to hold back soil and resist lateral earth pressure.
They can be made from various materials, such as concrete, stone, or brick. These walls often have a thicker base that gradually becomes thinner towards the top, giving them a slight incline.
A gravity retaining wall (or a gravity wall) excels at creating more space in your yard by leveling out a sloped area. They’re also suitable for building terraced gardens or supporting raised patios or decks.
Crib Retaining Walls
Crib retaining walls consist of interlocking boxes made from timber or precast concrete.
These boxes are filled with crushed stone or other coarse granular materials, creating a strong, stable structure. The open design of crib walls allows for good drainage and plant growth.
A crib retaining wall is perfect for leveling out a sloped area and creating more space in your yard. They also work well for stabilizing sloped foundations or building raised patios or decks.
Gabion Retaining Walls
Gabion retaining walls are made from rectangular wire mesh boxes filled with rocks, stones, or other coarse granular materials.
The boxes are stacked and linked together to form a durable, permeable wall that can easily adapt to the surrounding landscape.
Gabion retaining walls are designed to prevent erosion along shorelines, riverbanks, or canals. They’re also effective for controlling erosion on hillsides or slopes.
Bin Retaining Walls
Bin retaining walls have a modular design, typically constructed with precast concrete blocks or bricks.
These walls can be built in various shapes and sizes, making them highly customizable. The spaces between the blocks can be filled with soil or decorative elements, such as plants or stones.
Bin retaining walls are best suited for creating decorative gardens or flower beds. They can also be used to build driveways, or support raised patios or decks.
Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Or Reinforced Soil Retaining Walls
Mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) or reinforced soil retaining walls consist of layers of compacted soil reinforced with horizontal strips of geogrid, a strong synthetic material.
The face of the wall can be covered with various materials, such as concrete panels or blocks, to give it a finished appearance.
MSE or reinforced soil retaining walls are ideal for supporting driveways or parking areas, adding patios or outdoor living spaces, and constructing raised patios or decks. They’re also useful for creating level surfaces for swimming pools.
Cantilever Retaining Walls
Cantilever retaining walls are made from reinforced concrete and consist of a relatively thin stem and a thick base slab.
The base slab extends under the retained soil, providing the necessary stability to hold back the earth. These walls are highly efficient, especially for taller structures.
Cantilever retaining walls are great for supporting driveways or parking areas, and building raised patios or decks. They’re also an excellent choice for projects with limited space.
Buttressed Retaining Walls
Buttressed retaining walls feature thin vertical concrete webs, called buttresses, that connect the wall’s face to a base slab.
The buttresses provide extra support and stability, making these walls ideal for higher or heavier loads.
Buttressed retaining walls are ideal for adding patios or outdoor living areas and creating sound barriers. They can also be used to support driveways or parking areas.
Anchored Or Embedded Retaining Walls
Anchored or embedded retaining walls are similar to cantilever walls, but they also include deep cable rods or anchors that are driven into the soil behind the wall.
This additional reinforcement provides increased stability and support.
Anchored or embedded retaining walls work well for stabilizing sloped foundations or supporting driveways or parking areas. They can also be utilized for building raised patios or decks.
Sheet Piling Or Piled Retaining Walls
Sheet piling or piled retaining walls are made from thin vertical sheets of steel, vinyl, or wood that are driven into the ground to create a barrier.
These walls are particularly effective in areas with soft soil or limited space, and they are commonly used for erosion control along shorelines and riverbanks.
Sheet piling or piled retaining walls are effective for preventing erosion along shorelines, riverbanks, or canals. They’re also a good choice for erosion control on hillsides or slopes.
Combination Retaining Walls
Combination retaining walls blend two or more wall types, creating a hybrid system that offers the benefits of each individual wall.
For example, a combination wall might consist of a gravity retaining wall with anchors or reinforcements for added stability.
Combination retaining walls are perfect for creating decorative gardens or flower beds. They can also be used to build driveways or to support raised patios or decks.
Create Your New Space With Gradex Company
We hope this comprehensive guide has given you a solid understanding of the various types of retaining walls and their best applications. Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to make an informed decision that will enhance the value, functionality, and beauty of your property.
At Gradex Company, we specialize in retaining wall design and in building retaining walls that meet your specific needs. Let our team of experts help you create the perfect solution for your project.
Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call.
The strongest and most durable choice, concrete can be stamped, stained, veneered, or carved to look like mortared stone.
Which type of retaining wall should I choose? While there are many types of strong and durable retaining wall, the best options are easily concrete or stone. These materials are long-lasting, tough, durable and super strong, and can take care of supporting your site with ease.What is the cheapest type of retaining wall? ›
The cheapest type of retaining wall is poured concrete. Prices start at $4.30 per square foot for poured concrete, $5.65 for interlocking concrete block, $6.15 for pressure-treated pine, and about $11 for stone. Installation or supplies, such as drainage stone or filter fabric, are not included.What is the difference between a landscaping wall and a retaining wall? ›
Retaining walls can be of any height but are usually higher than 3 feet. Garden walls are low walls, usually about 18-24 inches in height, that line a landscape feature. The garden wall acts as a division between the installed feature and the rest of the landscape.What is the most commonly used retaining wall? ›
- Gravity retaining walls.
- Cantilever retaining walls.
- Embedded retaining walls.
- Reinforced soil retaining walls.
Wood retaining walls last around 40 years. Stone and concrete retaining walls last between 50 and 100 years. Brick retaining walls last at least 100 years. It mainly depends on the material, climate, drainage, maintenance amount, design, and unexpected events.What is the easiest retaining wall to install? ›
As mentioned earlier, the easiest retaining wall for a DIYer to install is likely a landscape timber wall. Fortunately, it is also one of the cheapest types of retaining wall because the only materials needed are the timbers and a few spikes.
Poured concrete and precast concrete are typically the most expensive options. Concrete blocks are hollow and will need to be reinforced with steel.What is the best retaining wall to prevent erosion? ›
Some gardeners do have luck with walls built of loosely stacked stone or of wood. Although you can build a retaining wall out of just about anything, the best and sturdiest ones rely on tightly stacking concrete blocks, bricks or stone pavers that resist the pressure from the soil behind them.How can I reduce the cost of a retaining wall? ›
- Reduce the height of the wall.
- Choose low-cost materials such as gabion, vinyl, wood, or interlocking concrete.
- Build a shorter wall.
All retaining walls require adequate drainage systems to make them safe and sturdy.What is the easiest DIY retaining wall? ›
- Log Stack.
- Parallel Logs.
- Recycled Tires.
- Metal Sheets.
- Leftover Wood.
Generally, between 3 feet to 4 feet high. But there are different factors to consider, including the material you use for your wall, the landscaping, and the purpose.Does a retaining wall need foundations? ›
The foundation of a retaining wall is a key component in the wall's longevity. A good foundation ensures the wall does not sag or settle. It will ensure the finished wall is level and straight.What material goes behind a retaining wall? ›
The best material for the backfilling of a retaining wall is gravel, and it should be well graded. The main reason for using gravel is because it does not retain water (small void ratio); hence lateral loads experienced will be minimal. You should also have weep holes for draining excess water that may be retained.What time of year should you build a retaining wall? ›
Generally speaking, the wisdom of the professionals will tell you to plan any major earth moving projects, such as retaining walls, for early to mid-summer. That's because this is a period between spring rains and summer downpours in much of the United States.How far below ground should a retaining wall be? ›
The general rule of thumb is to bury about one-eighth of the height of the wall. For example, if your wall will be three feet (36 inches) tall, the first course of blocks should start five inches below soil level. The gravel base should start three inches below this.How thick should a retaining wall be by height? ›
Rules of thumb commonly used by designers to establish the geometry of the wall include (refer to diagram): Base width = 1/2 to 1/3 of the height of the wall. Base thickness = 1/8 of the height of the wall but not less than 12 inches. Stem thickness = 6 inches + ¼ inch for each foot of wall height.What is the minimum depth for retaining wall? ›
For the Preliminary analysis, thickness of the base slab can be taken H/10 to H/15. H is the total ht of the retaining wall. Min thickness not less than 300 mm.What is the most expensive wall type? ›
Natural stone is the most expensive of the retaining wall material choices.
A gabion wall is a retaining wall made of stacked stone-filled gabions tied together with wire. Gabion walls are usually battered (angled back towards the slope), or stepped back with the slope, rather than stacked vertically.What are the disadvantages of concrete retaining walls? ›
- Costly due to other materials required for installation – steel, concrete footings, additional cost to create different finishes.
- Labour intensive.
- Can look sterile or harsh look in their raw state.
Tiebacks add strength to retaining walls. Adding a gravel bed behind and beneath the wall or perforated drain tiles lining the base of the wall can substantially improve drainage. This reduces trapped water and freezing behind the wall that can exert pressure, causing failure.What wall prevents soil erosion? ›
Retaining walls are used on construction sites to prevent soil erosion. They are designed to hold back the earth, so water can flow through it and away from the building. The soil is used as a dam while the water builds up behind it, acting as a natural breakwater.Will a retaining wall stop erosion? ›
Retaining walls prevent erosion, control waterflow, and also serve to make your outdoor areas more visually appealing.How do you calculate a retaining wall? ›
Using your dimensions determine your square feet of face area by multiplying the wall length by the wall height. Remember to panelize your wall if your project has varying wall heights. Once you have a total SFF area you can estimate the total number of block you will need.How much slope before a retaining wall is needed? ›
The maximum slope for the soil you can safely go without having a retaining wall is 35 degrees. This is especially important if the soil is granular. If the angle is steeper than 35 degrees, you need a retaining wall to keep the landscape in place.What do you put behind a retaining wall for drainage? ›
Backfill refers to the dirt behind the wall. In order to provide proper drainage, at least 12 inches of granular backfill (gravel or a similar aggregate) should be installed directly behind the wall. Compacted native soil can be used to backfill the rest of the space behind the wall.Why put gravel behind retaining wall? ›
Backfill is the dirt and gravel behind your retaining wall that provides your wall with adequate drainage and water redirection. Backfill is a necessary feature of retaining walls because it ensures that there aren't any drainage issues or water pooling behind your retaining wall.What is the substitute of retaining wall? ›
Using wooden timbers could be a great alternative to retaining walls. They are quite popular in building garden beds, raising flowers, and sloppy hillsides. The wooden timbers go pretty well with the natural vibe of the landscape design.
- Stabilize With Plants & Trees. A smart way to stabilize the soil on a hill is by planting shrubs, trees, and flowers. ...
- Install Stairs or a Path. ...
- Build Up Tiers of Walls. ...
- Build a Deck.
Retaining wall installation isn't the easiest project for beginners. Some situations may even require professional engineering to ensure the wall keeps its shape. Generally, if you're planning a retaining wall taller than four feet, it's time to call in a pro.Do you need planning permission for retaining wall? ›
You will need to apply for planning permission if you wish to erect or add to a fence, wall or gate where: it would be over 1 metre high and fronting a road used by vehicles (or the footpath of such a road) or over 2 metres high elsewhere.Do I need rebar in a retaining wall? ›
Retaining walls must be stronger than freestanding walls. Insert rebar in the footing when you pour it; this should be done at every three blocks or at intervals specified by your local codes.Are retaining walls worth it? ›
Building a retaining wall is often an excellent investment, as it can provide many advantages. They can be used to stop erosion, prevent landslides, stabilize hilly landscapes, provide flood control, add functional space to your yard and increase the overall value of your home.Do you need drainage behind a concrete retaining wall? ›
Retaining wall drainage is critical. It ensures water does not collect behind the wall, causing it to fail. A quality drainage system collects and redirects rainwater away from the wall. It decreases pressure on the soil around the foundation and within the wall itself, reducing erosion and settlement.What is the lifespan of retaining wall? ›
What is the Lifespan of a Retaining Wall? For a permanent wall stricture the general lifespan is said to be between 50 and 100 years. This does however depend on the conditions of the soil and groundwater of your site.What is the risk of retaining wall? ›
If the retaining walls are not properly maintained and allowed to deteriorate over time, they may require extensive repairs or even replacement, which can be very expensive. It can also increase the risk of property damage, which can lead to higher insurance premiums.How do I know if my retaining wall is safe? ›
A retaining wall needs to have a stable foundation and be strong enough to support the soil behind it. If it's leaning forward or has a bowed look, this means that your retaining wall is not strong enough to withstand the outward pressure of the soil that it is supposed to be supporting.What is the strongest type of retaining wall? ›
Poured concrete is the strongest and most durable choice for retaining walls. It may also be carved and formed to look like mortared stone depending on your taste.
Concrete retaining walls outlast timber retaining walls
Concrete retaining walls will not only outlast timber walls, they can also be installed quickly and easily, without even using mortar to bond the stones together. A timber retaining wall can last a little over a decade, if treated properly.
Normally M-25 or higher grade of concrete is used for Construction of retaining walls. During Concreting construction and expansion joints are provided for avoiding cracks in Construction Joints. Then the concrete is properly cured.What's the cheapest stone retaining wall cost? ›
Stone retaining walls range in price from $15 to $95 per square foot, depending on the type of stone used. Granite and limestone are strong options with different designs, but granite remains the cheapest in this category.What is the best material to put behind a retaining wall? ›
The best material for the backfilling of a retaining wall is gravel, and it should be well graded. The main reason for using gravel is because it does not retain water (small void ratio); hence lateral loads experienced will be minimal. You should also have weep holes for draining excess water that may be retained.