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Everything You Need to Know About Retaining Walls

Retaining wall San Diego

Most people who know what a retaining wall is, do so because they own a home where it is a complete necessity. If you’ve never lived on a property that sits on a hill, you’ve never had to worry about this essential component that many homes depend on. If your property sits on a hill, or you are thinking about buying property that sits on a hill, then you definitely will want to read this guide to retaining walls. The purpose of retaining walls is to keep everything that might be prone to move or slide around due to gravity in one place. This includes but is not limited to the soil on a given property, the buildings on a property, or any other types of materials or objects that might be on the property such as large rocks or other geological features. Essentially, retaining walls are there to make sure nothing on your property slides away in the event of a heavy rainstorm, and they are also there to ensure that landslides do not occur. In a nutshell, they help to prevent erosion.

As simple as the concept may be, there are several different types of retaining walls that each have different individual functions. Furthermore, while retaining walls serve a very specific and essential purpose, they also contribute a very significant amount to aesthetic feel that a given property has. While different retaining walls may differ in specific functions, they all have a unique appearance that can affect the aesthetic value of the property they occur on. In this article, we’ll be covering what three different types of retaining walls including what they are, what they do, and why they are important.

Sheet Piling Wall:

This type of retaining wall is typically used to create a customized landscaping style. This means that they can be utilized even if your home does not sit on a hill or slope so that you can create a complex, textured layering on the landscape of your yard or garden. Essentially you take a wall made out of a variety of possible materials (wood, steel, aluminum, vinyl, etc…) and then that wall is stuck directly into the soil. Because of this set up, sheet piling retaining walls are only used in places where the soil is very soft. Areas with really soft soil are a good place for this kind of retaining wall because soft soil, as opposed to hard, compact soil, is more susceptible to erosion. Sheet piling retaining walls help to prevent that erosion from occurring, but also give you the opportunity to incorporate a layered landscape style to your yard or garden.

Gravity Wall:

This is the most common and basic types of retaining walls. The sole purpose of these kinds of retaining walls is to serve the functional purpose of keeping soil and other geological materials from sliding away from the foundation they are on. Essentially, gravity retaining walls are made up of a very strong and massive distribution of material that holds everything on one side of it in place, preventing erosion and/or landslides. Sometimes these walls require additional reinforcement in the form of steel, but typically they are made up of stacked stones or bricks. However, there is a large amount of variety when it comes to your options for choosing a material for your gravity retaining wall. Anything that can be stacked and is of heavy and durable quality material can be used to create a gravity retaining wall, and these options allow for a great deal of customization when it comes to the aesthetic value these kinds of walls lend to a property.

Anchored Retaining Wall:

Anchored retaining walls allow you to have a much greater degree of freedom regarding the appearance of your retaining walls. How they work is anchors are driven into the ground where the bottom of the wall will be. Then, cables are attached to these anchors and these cables are strapped across the earth from the bottom of the wall will be to where the top of the wall will be. This creates a rudimentary net that holds all of the geological materials that are being retained in place. From there, the wall is placed over these cables as a second layer of reinforcement to keep everything in place. Because most of the retaining is being done by the anchors and the cables, you are essentially free to design the wall however you like. This means that you don’t need to worry about utilizing really heavy and durable materials to construct the wall, and instead you can use thinner materials that focus more on creating an aesthetic appeal than having the materials limited based on structural integrity. In areas where there is a massive amount of weight being retained by the retaining walls, it is probably not a great idea to opt for an anchored retaining wall with a thin front. However, in areas where the retaining wall is intended more to prevent simple erosion rather than landslides, anchored retaining walls are an amazing option that gives you the freedom to fully customize the outward appearance of your retaining wall.


Retaining walls are an essential part of the landscape if your home is on a slope or a hill. They are also really useful even if you don’t live on a hill for creating textured layers regarding the landscape in your yard or garden, and these kinds of setups can create a very pleasant aesthetic for your property. Whether or not retaining walls are an essential necessity for your property or an extra added touch, there are several different kinds of retaining walls intended for different purposes. There are also many different levels of customizability and design options when it comes to retaining walls that are all dependent on factors such as how much weight the walls are bearing, and where/why they are being utilized. We hope you have found this article on retaining walls to be helpful and informative. Remember, if you are thinking about doing work on your property involving retaining walls, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! We offer free estimates on any work regarding retaining walls and other home remodeling/construction services. We look forward to hearing from you!

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