Retaining Walls: Different Methods to Build

Posted on: 26 September 2023


Retaining walls have both functional and aesthetic benefits, apart from preventing soil erosion and landslides. Retaining walls can enhance the landscape of the property, increase property value, and provide additional outdoor living space. Retaining walls can also correct drainage issues, provide privacy and noise reduction, and manage elevation changes. With various materials and methods to build retaining walls, you can choose one that suits your style and budget. Here are some of the different methods of building retaining walls.

Gravity Walls:

Gravity walls are widely used as retaining walls and rely on the force of gravity to hold back soil or sloping land. They utilize the weight and mass of the materials to provide stability and support. These walls can be made from various materials like natural stones, bricks, and concrete blocks. Gravity walls need appropriate footing to consider the weight of the wall, soil load, and drainage. The longevity of a gravity wall depends on the quality of the materials used and the design and installation methods.

Cantilever Walls:

Cantilever retaining walls are reinforced concrete walls with a thicker base connected to a thinner stem and have a concrete footing slab. They counterbalance the pressure of the soil behind them with the mass held in the base. Installing cantilever retaining walls provides a long-term solution for soil retaining while providing an attractive look. 

Sheet Pile Walls:

The sheet pile walls are an excellent alternative when you need a retaining wall near a water body like a river or lake due to the tendency of water to erode soil. Sheet pile walls can be constructed by driving interlocking metal, vinyl, or wood sheets into the ground until they reach a reliable soil layer. 

Anchored Walls:

Anchored retaining walls are specifically designed to resist higher loads, deeper excavations, and taller walls. Anchors are metal tensioning or tying devices that attach to the retaining wall and extend deep into the soil. These walls can be built as concrete-filled, masonry, or steel sheet walls, with a long life that reduces the need for regular repairs and maintenance. 

Gabion Walls:

Gabion walls have a unique look and are made from various rocks or boulders, which are placed in mesh wire baskets or cages. Gabion walls are essentially a pile of rocks that are contained in wire mesh and present an eco-friendly option when building retaining walls due to the usage of natural materials. Gabion walls are a popular choice due to the versatility of design, structure, and durability across various applications, including watercourses, landscaping, highways, and stormwater management.

Contact residential retaining wall contractors to learn more.