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Retaining Walls: Types & Essential Benefits Explained

By Whirl Construction (933 words)
Posted in Retaining Walls/Pavers on November 10, 2020

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The retaining wall is an aesthetic addition to your landscape that can enhance your place's beauty and value. Even though it plays a significant role in making your outdoor look visually appealing, the core purpose of building a retaining wall is to withstand the pressure of soil from eroding. These walls hold the soil and stabilize the sliding area. If you have kids that play in the backyard on a sloped hill, a retaining wall might be what you are looking for. 

They serve the purpose of functional production in which they prevent sinkholes that result in damaging the landscape. A sloped hill can cause rainwater to harm your property and allow floods to invade your house as well. The retaining walls can prevent this. Other than this, they are instrumental in protecting your landscape design in the long run and lessening the maintenance costs. 

Retaining walls are of various types, and Whirl Construction can construct them according to your requirement. 


Types of Retaining Walls

1. Gravity Retaining Wall

This is the most common and basic form of retaining walls. Gravity retaining wall has its main focus on mass and weight to control the lateral pressure of soil. As these walls are all about weight, they're significantly huge as they have to maintain a certain level of thickness to achieve stability.  We can use various materials such as bricks, concrete, stones, or masonry units to construct these walls. The wall fits best for a height of 3 meters. 

2. Cantilevered Retaining Wall

Another name for a cantilevered retaining wall is reinforced retaining wall, and it comprises of stems and a base slab. It utilizes a retaining wall that we fix to a slab under the soil supporting the wall in the shape of an "L." The soil above the slab keeps the wall in position and prevents it from falling forward.  We can use reinforced concrete, prestressed concrete, or precast concrete to construct the wall. Even though it requires a lesser quantity of concrete than the gravity wall, it demands careful design and construction. The wall is economically suitable up to the height of 10m.

3. Gabion Retaining Wall

Gabion retaining wall is excellent for maintaining stability in steep slopes and controlling soil erosion. These walls follow the design and structure of MSE walls for erosion control.  We can fill these multi-filled walls with a suitable material such as rocks and support them with reinforcements such as plastic meshes or metallic strips.

4. Anchored Retaining Wall

We can construct these walls at places that are narrow and demand thin walls. We call these anchored walls because the anchors driven into the earth support them against overturning or sliding. Cables or strips attach them, and pressurized concrete extends their ends. These walls best suit in places with loose soil above the rocks. This structure is very helpful in building higher walls. 

5. Sheet Pile Walls

We usually construct these walls in places that have limited space.  We use wood, steel, or vinyl to create these thin walls and build them by driving reinforced concrete masses close to each other. These walls are excellent for providing stiffness and holding lateral pressure, especially in deeply excavated places, without damaging the properly around them. We use them both for temporary and permanent works and support a suitable high of 6m.

6. Hybrid System

These are the unitary block structures that use mass and reinforcement to achieve stability. We also call these composite retaining wall systems.

7. Cradle Retaining Walls

We use the technique to build these walls by interlocking packing containers made up of wood or precast concrete. We fill these containers with granular material such as crushed stones. The main purpose of constructing these is to provide support to the plains; they are unsuitable for slopes. 

8. Masonry Retaining Walls

The main approach we use to construct these walls is by using a rebar reinforced concrete and keeping weep holes in the walls at the gap of 6-8 feet, helping the water drain away from the wall. On the other hand, a mortar-free wall only needs the filling of crushed stone and concrete of one inch per foot. However, this wall needs an intricate design, and only a professional should construct them. 

9. Bored Pile Retaining Walls

We construct these walls by putting together the bored piles and excavating the excess soil. The construction of a bored pile retaining wall may vary according to the project that we are executing; it might need anchors, reinforcing beams, shotcrete reinforcement layer, or soil improvement operation. We carry out this construction in a place where the noise generated by a sheet pile driver is unacceptable.

10. Stone Retaining Walls

We use the method of dry-stacking to build stone retaining walls. This method requires no mortar between the stones and also eliminates the need for concrete footing. These walls allow fast drainage of water from the walls that can seep through wet soil behind it and eventually preventing wall damage. When the water drains out, the soil does not push its way through the wall's cracks.


Building a retaining wall demands adeptness, and only a professional should handle the construction of a retaining wall above the height of 3m. These walls do not have to give an old-fashioned look; you can design them in the most modern manner. What's important is the execution with knowledge and experience. Whirl Construction has been providing excellent quality and professionalism in the field since 1982 and is the perfect choice for constructing a retaining wall.

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International Playground Contractors Association New Jersey Recreation and Park Association Certified Playground Safety Inspectors Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute