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Factors To Consider When Building a Retaining Wall

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When building retaining walls, you don't have to choose between aesthetics and function. The primary purpose of retaining walls is to hold back soil where erosion is a concern and where a steep change in elevating a property is needed. However, with a variety of materials and methods available, retaining walls can be used to maximise usable space in your garden or yard, and control erosion at the same time. Once you are aware of the basics, you can customise it to meet your needs and increase the value of your property. Here are several considerations to make when designing a retaining wall;


The type of material you use to construct your retaining wall needs to be in line with your purpose for building a retaining wall, along with your budget and style. Here are various materials options you can consider;

  • Stones- Available in a wide variety of colours and shapes, stone walls goes with any style of a yard and are one of the most popular options to elevation changes.
  • Bricks- Although you must consider special drainage accommodations, brick walls are a solid and durable choice for landscapes and traditional homes.
  • Timber- Timber walls blend naturally into any landscape and are ideal for conventional-style homes.
  • Concrete- Concrete walls are available in a variety of styles, shapes, and colour options. Designed to offer maximum strength, concrete can blend well with most garden, yard and home exteriors.


Retaining walls need to be built on a stable base that is placed below the ground level. The taller the wall, the deeper the base needs to be below the ground. Normally, walls exceeding four feet must be designed by a certified engineer and built by a qualified mason. Before construction, ensure that you familiarise yourself with local building codes.


Your retaining wall needs to have an efficient drainage system to prevent water and soil from penetrating through its structure. A retaining wall without proper drainage is a wall that won't last; it's not structurally sound.

Soil Characteristics

Soil characteristics dictate how long construction will take to complete, the technique to be adopted and the material to be used. If the ground water conditions are not stable, you might be forced to choose a different location to prevent the occurrence of unforeseen problems in the future.


In addition to holding back soil, a retaining wall can be used to enhance and transform your yard. Shorter retaining walls make appealing flower beds. You can get creative by having benches built into your retaining wall. You can also add a curve to your wall to bring some excitement to your landscape.

Additional Finishes

Show off your creative side by incorporating a water feature or outdoor fire pit into your retaining wall. Consider creating access to the area above the wall by building steps; this will expand your outdoor living space. You can also add contrasting lighting to create ambience and couple this with wall caps to enhance the look.