Knowing the different types of retaining walls

retaining walls
Written by Ben Davis

There are in a lot of places. You must have seen them before but you may not know what they are for or the purpose they serve. What are they? They are called retaining walls.

What are retaining walls?

Retaining walls are used for a different number of reasons. Some used it to create different types of landscapes for their garden while others used it where they had erosion challenges, slope, hillside or unsteady bank they needed to push back.

There are different types of retaining walls. The type you would create would depend on the challenges you faced or the use you would like to put it.

Concrete, keystone blocks, wood are some of the materials used in making retaining walls.

For those that are interested in making their landscape beautiful and to reach its full potentials, we would discuss the various types of retaining walls which are but not limited to gravity, cantilever, pilling walls and Anchoring.

Gravity Walls

These types of retaining walls rely majorly on gravity and its mass to stay supported or resists lateral earth forces.  There were instances where the gravity would lean back into the retained earth.

It is constructed with concrete blocks and stones in such a way that the base of the wall is thicker than the crown. Since the greater mass is domiciled at the bottom, the wall would be able to withstand rock-breaking pressures.

Earth would be dug out in front of the slope to be contained to set the base there and then fill up.

Cantilever Walls

This type of retaining wall is often used in hilly areas and always take the shape of an L or inverted T with a section of the base protruding back into the earth that is being held back.

They are often constructed from cemented masonry or concrete reinforced with steel. They require more detailed design and careful construction and could be economical up to about 25 ft in height.

Pilling Walls

Pilling walls use the pressure provided by the ground, unlike cantilever and gravity walls that depend on their mass to mount resistance.

Materials used in this type of walls are vinyl, wood planks or steel to contain the earth wall. It is constructed in such a way that one-third of the wall is located on the surface while two third is below the surface to provide support for the wall though this may be altered depending on the environment.

They are mostly used in coastal areas or on waterfront properties to keep water at bay.


Retaining wall which uses facing units tied to rods or strips which have their ends anchored into the ground is an anchored retaining wall.

An anchor is a mechanical device that expands or is attached to the walls via a cable to cling dirt. Sometimes, cement blocks embedded in the dirt are used as anchors.

Structural Engineers use this type of retaining wall where the strain on the wall is too much for the wall to resist.

Highlighted above are the various ways of making your landscaping beautiful and solving the erosion challenges you have.

To choose the right retaining wall for your environment, consult a professional who would help you in building it or advise you on the type that best fits your environment.







About the author

Ben Davis

If hard hitting, factual news is what you are looking for, only Ben Davis has it.

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