A Guide to Retaining Walls

A retaining wall can be a great way to stop soil erosion, and make more yard space. These walls also provide many landscaping opportunities. However, you may need to hire a professional if you want to build a retaining wall that meets the height requirements of your city or neighborhood. Also, you may need to obtain a building permit for the project, depending on your location and the homeowners association.

Build a retaining wall

The first step to building a retaining walls is to level the ground. Dig a trench that is at least 2 inches deep and large enough to hold the concrete blocks adelaide. Remove the flange from the blocks before laying them. This will ensure that they rest evenly on the ground. Next, spread landscape fabric over the soil to protect it from dripping and settling.

Precast concrete blocks can be purchased from Lowe’s or Home Depot if you’re a DIYer. These blocks look like trapezoids and they are lightweight. They can be assembled without mortar. Nevertheless, these blocks are not the cheapest option.

When building a retaining wall, you should take the following steps to make it sturdy. The ground behind the wall should be filled with gravel or sand. This is important as dirt absorbs water and expands when it becomes saturated. Sand and gravel do not retain water, so they will reduce pressure on the retaining wall. This reduces the chance of cracks.

Before you lay blocks, measure the area where you want to build the wall. Next, stake the area where you want to build the wall. Next, tie the string to your stakes. This will help you to plan the length and width of the wall. Once you have done this, attach the blocks to string with a mason’s string.

Once the base is ready, you can start laying the blocks on it. The first course of blocks should be laid centeredly in the trench. The blocks should then be tapped into place using a rubber mallet to ensure they’re level. You may need to add more gravel to make the blocks level.


Cost of retaining walls varies depending on their size and type. A retaining wall can be made from timber, concrete blocks, concrete sleepers, or natural stone. Timber retaining walls are cheaper than the other materials, but they tend to be less durable. Prices are usually quoted per square metre. Larger walls will cost more than smaller walls. You will also need to add steps to your wall to increase its cost.

Surcharge loads are an important factor in determining cost of retaining wall. The surcharge load is a major factor in determining the overall cost of retaining walls. However, the increase in cost is less pronounced for the smallest excavation depths. To offset the effect of the surcharge load, increase the internal friction angle (Figure 5a-d). This will reduce the overall cost of retaining walls.

Depending on the material used and the size of the retaining wall, the total cost may be as low as $250 or as high as $550 per square metre in Sydney. However, this price does not include excavation and structural engineers’ fees. If your wall is more than four feet tall, it is a good idea to consult a professional structural engineer.

Concrete or steel are often used to build retaining walls. Each material has different costs, and this plays an important role in the optimum design. For example, concrete costs vary widely across different regions. Considering this, studies have attempted to find ways to achieve an optimum balance between cost and sizing in reinforced concrete retaining walls.


Different types of retaining walls are used for different applications. The first type is the sheet pile retaining wall, which is made from thin sections of wood, vinyl, or steel. These walls are often reinforced with vertical corrugation to give additional strength. The only drawback of this type of retaining wall is that it works best on soft soils. The main purpose of this type of wall is to prevent soil from shifting and moving. It should be anchored into the ground one-third of the way up the wall. Larger walls may require additional anchors.

Another type of retaining wall is the tieback wall. This type is easier to design and construct than other types. This wall is constructed from a combination of steel and grout. These walls are pre-stressed to resist corrosion. Tieback walls are also less expensive than other types.

The cantilever retaining walls are another type. They rest on a cap beam or grade beam. The grade beam must be strong enough to support the weight of the wall. It may also have a batter setback to increase stability. It is important to keep in mind that different types may be used for different purposes.

These walls are used in many different applications to help prevent soil erosion. They can also be used as a decorative element in landscapes, commercial landscapers. They can be used as a freestanding feature or as part of larger construction projects. You will need planning permission if they are larger. However, if they are smaller and freestanding, you can usually build them without building regulation approval.


Many cities require permits for retaining walls, especially if the walls exceed four feet in height. They may also require a final inspection of walls. A permit is not required in other cities if the walls are less that four feet high, but a plan from an architect or professional engineer is required.

A retaining wall’s height must be in compliance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. It should be constructed with minimum soil cover in front of the wall, with at least 12″ of space behind each unit. This is required to conform with local codes. In addition, retaining walls should be designed so that the wall is not exposed in the front. Local codes may have different standards than the National Council of Municipalities (NCMA) for wall height.

Retaining walls require inspection by an IRC Code-certified inspector in addition to a building permit. Geogrid block walls also require inspections at every three feet. Boat lifts and docks also require a LSEA Class A building permit. Furthermore, newly constructed docks must use encapsulated foam billets or dock flotation.

Water management

Water management is an important aspect of designing a retaining walls. Properly placed drainage systems help prevent water from pooling behind the wall and causing damage. The structure may become decayed over time if there is too much water. This can lead to costly repairs. Proper drainage systems also minimize the need to drill into the wall to repair problems that may arise.

Before constructing a water management system, homeowners should consider the weather in their area. A homeowner in Nashville, TN should remember that the climate is often humid. It is important to use a filter fabric to prevent fine material from clogging the drainage stones when installing a water management system.

Retaining walls must have proper drainage. They should also be capable of channeling water away from the structure. Perforated piles or weep holes can be used to regulate the flow of water. Gravity retaining walls can also be used to drain water and control pressure. These structures are built with heavy duty materials and use concrete support beams anchored in the soil. Whether your retaining wall is made of wood or metal, proper drainage is essential.

Water management for retaining walls must be able to accommodate the water from a reservoir. A good example of this is a front retaining wall. This type of retaining walls can be used to regulate elevation of runoff reservoirs, without the need to perform frequent manual operations. These retaining walls are particularly suitable for runoff reservoirs because their water levels vary less than those of other types of reservoirs.

Stormwater management systems that are permanent are designed to collect large amounts and prevent flooding. These systems are often located in parks and vegetated street ditches.

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