What Are Retaining Walls?

A retaining wall is a type of landscaping wall that holds back soil. These structures can be made from a variety of materials and are typically found in residential and commercial landscapes. They can also be used to control erosion and prevent floods.Retaining Walls

They can be built to withstand several different types of pressures, but they are susceptible to damage from unexpected events. These can include things like soil erosion, poor drainage, or even being hit by a car. Visit https://vantaoutdoors.com/retaining-walls/ to learn more.

A retaining wall’s purpose is to keep soil or other material in place, so it is important that any water that enters the space behind the wall is either drained away or directed elsewhere. If not addressed, hydrostatic pressure can build up in the space and cause damage to the wall. To prevent this, make sure the landscaper backfills at least a foot of space behind the wall with gravel or another previous material. This will allow any moisture to pass freely to a drain or out through weep holes, alleviating the pressure.

Having a landscaping company install plants or other greenery in the area behind your retaining wall is also a good idea. The plant roots will help keep the soil in place and reduce erosion. The roots will also take in moisture from the air, helping to keep the area from becoming too dry. However, make sure there are plenty of openings in the front of the wall to let moisture escape.

Depending on site conditions, some areas may need more drainage than others. “Dry areas with sandy, well-drained soils need less drainage than wetter soils and clay types,” Christofora says. The height of the retaining wall also affects its drainage needs. Taller walls are more likely to need a drainage system than shorter ones.

If you are planning on building a retaining wall, it is important to evaluate the surrounding area and determine how much drainage is needed. The landscaping professionals can then plan for the best type of drainage system, which will usually include a toe drain and/or wall rock at the bottom of the retaining wall.

Other options for retaining wall drainage include French drains, which consist of a downward-sloping trench filled with gravel and a pipe that directs water away from the retaining wall. Regardless of the drainage option chosen, plumbing experts will need to be called in so that the drain can be properly constructed and maintained over time.

Another benefit of proper retaining wall drainage is that it can prevent sinkholes, which are formed when rainfall seeps into the bedrock and dissolves it from within, creating a hole in the ground. This process is especially common in areas with limestone bedrock. Having a retaining wall with adequate drainage helps protect against sinkhole formation, which is a major concern in some states, including Florida, Texas, Alabama and Missouri.

Flood Control

Retaining walls aren’t just for holding back soil, they can also protect a home from flood damage. This is because retaining walls can help redirect the flow of water around the foundation, keeping it dry and preventing shifting or structural damage that would occur from excess groundwater pressure. They can even serve as raised terraces for planting shrubbery and trees that help hold the soil in place with their roots.

In the case of flood control, retaining walls are used to divert water into designated conveyance channels to prevent flooding and scouring along the wall. These channels can be constructed of a variety of materials including precast concrete block systems, stone or masonry. They can also be lined with concrete to increase their capacity to handle heavy rainfall and severe weather events.

When building a retaining wall for flood control, it is important to understand the types of drainage systems that can be implemented and the grading techniques that are available. This is because retaining walls are often used to manage stormwater runoff and prevent erosion in sensitive areas, such as hillsides where groundwater can quickly erode bedrock and create sinkholes.

One of the most effective ways to do this is through implementing a grading system that will direct runoff away from the structure. This can be done by installing drainage channels, creating slopes and swales and/or using geotextiles in the fill layer to prevent erosion.

Another way to help mitigate against scouring and flooding is by utilizing a retaining wall that is designed with a high strength and large drainage capacities. This type of wall is typically built of a material like precast concrete, stone or masonry and can be constructed to heights of up to 10 feet. These walls are usually designed with additional strength by utilizing cables or other stay anchors that are driven into the soil behind the wall and then expanded to provide a stronger back-force against the soil.

Finally, a flood retaining wall can be a good option for your property because it can be built on-site with brick, poured on-site concrete or, most commonly in residential applications, with interlocking concrete blocks that are easily installed. These walls are often built much taller than other types of retaining walls and will have their bases buried up to a specified distance below the ground. This ensures that the wall cannot be moved by floodwater, which can prevent damage to the surrounding area and property.

Structural Strength

Many retaining walls are constructed to prevent soil erosion. This is especially important for properties built on bare land with little to no vegetation cover, which can quickly cause soil to weaken and expose foundations or other structural members to the elements. They also help control surface runoff and prevent flooding by directing water away from the property or into drainage channels.

Unlike fences, which may be designed for aesthetics only, retaining walls are constructed to support a significant amount of weight. A proper design ensures that they can withstand this pressure without failing or collapsing. The design process involves analyzing load stresses, ground movements and any deformation that occurs in the wall. Using advanced software such as ClearCalcs makes it possible to perform these calculations quickly and accurately.

A retaining wall’s strength depends on the material used and its construction. Precast concrete blocks are the best choice when it comes to maximizing strength, and poured concrete is another good option, especially if reinforced with steel rebars. Brick is another time-honored material that is strong and durable, although it is labor intensive and requires the services of a skilled mason to lay correctly.

The most important factor in a retaining wall’s strength is its ability to resist lateral earth pressure. Lateral pressure is the force exerted on a retaining wall by the retained soil, and it can be measured by calculating the pressure coefficients for the particular soil type.

This can be calculated by taking the wall’s height, depth and surcharge into consideration. It is also important to consider the soil’s shear strength and frictional resistance, which can be estimated by using the Rankine or Coulomb theories.

A retaining wall can be strengthened further by adding extra reinforcement, such as geosynthetic materials that provide additional tensile strength. These can be placed either inside or outside the wall, and they can be incorporated into the structure through several different methods including anchoring to geosynthetic reinforcement embedded in the soil. A retaining wall can also be reinforced with soil nailing, which is a method of securing the structure into the retained soil by drilling holes through the wall and then pushing anchors into it.


Retaining walls are more than just structures to hold back soil, they can add a stunning accent to your landscape. They can be crafted in many different styles and materials to suit your personal taste and match the look of your home. They can also be designed with other aesthetic features to make them more eye-catching and attractive to visitors and potential homebuyers.

In addition to the structural elements of retaining walls, they can also include decorative features such as columns and statuettes. They can be built in a variety of designs, from curved walls that give a soft appearance to straight lines that lend an air of elegance and elegance. They can even be used to create raised flower beds or other garden areas. This allows you to take advantage of otherwise unusable sloped land.

If you are looking for a way to add beauty to your yard, you should consider hiring a professional to install a retaining wall that fits your unique landscape needs. They can help you find the best material for your property, build it to your specifications and ensure that it is constructed properly. They can also help you choose the right plants for your landscaping and design an eye-catching garden area that will be the envy of your neighbors.

A retaining wall can be a great investment for your home, as it will protect your landscape from erosion and other problems that may arise from sloping land. They can also help you expand the usable space in your backyard and add value to your home for years to come.

It is important to have a retaining wall that has been designed by a qualified engineer. They will be able to determine the proper height and slope of your wall, as well as provide you with detailed construction drawings. It is also important to hire a contractor that is familiar with building and landscaping regulations and permits for your particular area.