The ins and outs of installing retaining walls

There’s nothing wrong with a little DIY for minor projects, but there are some that require professional help.

A good example is the installation of a retaining wall which can be tricky to do on your own and may need more than just tools in order to complete it successfully.

Convincing a DIY customer that you need to be the one to undertake a project like retaining walls can seem difficult, but in the end it is crucial for them understand what dangers they could incur if they were to attempt this on their own.

Retaining walls are often used for aesthetic purposes as well, providing a nice visual element to property that might otherwise not be very welcoming.

They also serve functional and environmental purposes in some cases by helping manage water flow or preventing erosion on sloped areas of land due to excessive rainfall or heavy snowfall.

Building Specifics

Techniques for steeper slopes include the use of interlocking concrete blocks, wood retaining walls, riprap (loose rock) areas, terracing and rock retaining walls. If you choose wood to construct your slope’s wall be sure to treat it with a preservative before installation so as not to let rot compromise its structure!

Slope: The wall should lean into the hill at a minimum of 1 inch for every 12 inches of height in order to maintain water on the surface and keep it from seeping through. This can also help with drainage when soil becomes saturated. There is always an option to redesigning grading before installing a new or existing wall, which could decrease slope needed while directing more rainwater away!

Placing drainage tiles behind the wall can help keep water build-up at bay in soils that drain poorly. These need to be made with a 12″ deep layer of backfill, such as gravel and free draining soil like sand or silt which are able to absorb liquid easily but also allow it out quickly so there is never too much pressure on one spot.

Placing drainage tiles behind your walls will prevent any standing pools from forming where they could cause rot or mold due to moisture getting trapped against them for long periods of time; this issue needs special attention if you happen live in an area with clay soil because when these types have moist conditions their pores close up making everything feel wetter than normal since nothing gets absorbed into those areas anymore

One of the first things you will need to consider when designing a wall is what type of material and how much. The cost, function and height are all dependent on this choice. For example, if your customer wants a decorative wall for their garden that won’t carry any weight then almost anything would suffice – but not so much if they want something functional with an intended load-bearing purpose!

Wood and concrete walls are recommended only when the height is less than 4 feet. Wood wall deteriorates faster, while a problem with solid concrete that causes water saturated conditions above the wall can be found in cases where it’s taller.

Which type of wall do you want? There are a variety to choose from, some more expensive than others. It’s important that your customer is well-educated on which one they need so there’s no confusion in the future and cost savings when it comes time for an install!

Retaining walls serve multiple purposes: 

  • drainage control
  • safety measure during heavy rains or high winds
  • building foundation support by preventing soil erosion away from buildings (especially homes).

Depending on what will be built adjacent to the retaining wall–such as home foundations/driveways or decorative gardens with plants along them – your needs may vary.

Gravity walls are a less common form of retaining wall that relies on the weight of their material to hold back earth. These can be any type of formal paving, or even just large rocks stacked together if they’re only being used for short slopes between 3 feet and 6 feet high.

It’s as if the walls have been planted in a forest of trees which continue to hold them up

Jordan Stambaugh is a main contributor to USA Retaining Walls. He runs Green Fox, a digital marketing company for outdoor contractors. From the Pacific Northwest and an Eagle Scout, Jordan has great appreciation for the outdoors and natural spaces. He believes in sustainability through design and choices in the building process.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Latest posts

Repairing Retaining Walls: Common Problems

Perhaps you’ve already installed a retaining wall and are noticing some problems with it. Can your retaining wall be salvaged?  You’ll need to seek a...

3 Retaining Wall Maintenance and Enhancements To Consider

If you already have a retaining wall in place and want to give it a new look, there are a few options that can...

Best Plant Suggestions for Retaining Walls

Plants almost always accompany retaining walls as they add to the beauty of your property and also help the wall to fit into place....

Want to stay up to date with the latest news?

We would love to hear from you! Please fill in your details and we will stay in touch. It's that simple!