What Type of Retaining Wall is Best? 5 top FAQs and Retaining Wall Project Ideas

Retaining walls can be a valuable enhancement to landscaping style, even if you do not have any sloping issues or circumstances that need resolving. While it's normally best to work with a retaining wall specialist for setups, there are some DIY suggestions that are feasible to perform on your own.

No matter what your retaining wall objectives are, there are various options for products, design options, aesthetic appeals, and also a lot more. If you are very inexperienced with landscaping or aren't acquainted with exactly how retaining walls job, it may be best to collaborate with a professional for your task.

Our article will certainly help you decide what type of retaining wall option may best match your landscaping task. We're going to discuss some frequently asked inquiries for your consideration, as well as discover some project ideas and also existing retaining wall enhancements for your property.

Let's have a look!

Retaining Wall Options

There are various types of retaining walls, and also one of one of the most typical is a gravity wall. This indicates that the dirt will be maintained with the weight of the wall itself, so when doing landscaping tasks with a gravity wall, the material is usually the largest decision you'll make.

If you're seeking a DIY retaining wall choice, interlocking cinder block is extensively accepted as the best sort of retaining wall as they are easy as well as easy to set up with no mortar required. In addition, wood and railway connection retaining walls are also excellent DIY walls. Natural stone, put concrete, or brick retaining walls require mortar or putting strategies, so having an expert mount this type of retaining wall is suggested.

Eventually, the "ideal" retaining wall will rely on your certain job, preferred visual, and also budget plan options; regardless of which you select, there is no doubt that a retaining wall will certainly include worth and also performance to your property.

FAQs: Retaining Walls

Before we discuss project concepts and also improvements to retaining walls, allow's have a look at 5 frequently asked questions concerning retaining wall tasks.

What is the objective of a retaining wall?

The useful purpose of a retaining wall is to hold back dirt as well as produce even more usable land where there is sloping, in addition to prevent landslides as well as erosion with time. That claimed, there are various other functions for retaining walls, consisting of landscape meaning as well as space creation.

Retaining walls also add measurement as well as layers to your property, and the sort of material that you select will certainly provide your property a brand-new or boosted visual.

If your retaining wall is suggested primarily for attractive or design functions, your alternatives are much more adaptable; if your goal is to retain heavy loads of soil, you'll require to make sure that various considerations are made to avoid wall failure and also keep your wall secure and also durable over time. This includes things like dirt type, incline grade, water drainage, climate, among others.

Just how much does a retaining wall cost?

This inquiry has a wide variety of answers which depend mostly on dimension, material, and also objective of your wall. There are additionally different cost points for materials as well as additionally for installation if you are dealing with a professional retaining wall contractor.

If you're considering materials alone, below are some reference points:

  • $ 4.00+, put concrete
  • $ 5.50+, interlocking concrete blocks
  • $ 6.50+, dealt with pine
  • $ 11+, natural stone

These are material expenses only, so any other costs connected to installation, draining, products, dirt, as well as a lot more are not consisted of in these referral factors.

Can I construct a retaining wall myself? Or should I employ an expert?

While simple retaining wall projects can be done as a DIY task, it's recommended to contact an expert retaining wall contractor to make sure that your retaining wall is mounted securely as well as appropriately.

Otherwise, your retaining wall might fall short and cause a substantial frustration for your property as well as attract adjustment costs. If you are set on doing the task yourself, materials like interlacing blocks and wood/railroad ties are practical choices.

Poured concrete as well as walls that need mortar are best left to expert retaining wall contractors.

Does retaining wall height matter?

Depending upon your specific task and also requires, retaining wall height can differ. It's usual for landscaping purposes that retaining walls are between 2-4 feet, as well as gravity walls more than 3-4 feet will normally need structure permits in most areas as well as ought to be mounted by experts.

For how long do retaining walls last?

Relying on the retaining wall product, you can anticipate the typical retaining wall to last upwards of 40 years with proper installment and maintenance. While maintenance is typically marginal on retaining walls, making certain that the retaining wall has proper drainage will ensure it lasts as long as it should.

On top of that, timber materials need to be dealt with to make sure that they can hold up against decaying and ecological influences.

Parts of a Retaining Wall

A basic retaining wall has a variety of different components, as well as these parts can differ depending on the sort of retaining wall you choose to install. For a mortared stone retaining wall, these are the 6 primary parts:

Footing drain: leads water away
Footing: enhances as well as sustains the wall
Weep hole: permits water to drain pipes out through the base of the wall
Batter: this supports the wall as well as leans back into the slope at 1 inch for every single 12 inches (1 foot) of wall height
Filter fabric: maintains dirt back and avoids clogging
Water drainage stone: protects against water merging behind the wall

Usual Retaining Wall Materials

Below you'll find some of the most common retaining wall materials; we'll review these options in terms of DIY projects along with professional installment.


Timber is a typical product made use of for DIY tasks, especially for those that fit and knowledgeable about working with wood. It's crucial to make certain the timber you pick is dealt with and can endure water as well as ecological influences.

There are wood choices available in lumber yards as well as local house facilities and also are usually constructed making use of spikes or screws.

Interlacing Concrete Blocks

This light-weight product is designed with easy setup in mind and there is no mortar required. Mounting them is similar to constructing Legos as the pieces interlock with each other. They are set up on top of a crushed stone footing. There are a selection of various looks to choose from for these interlocking cinder block, consisting of grey, tan, as well as red shades.


Brick, stone, and obstructed concrete suit this category; these can be rather pleasing to the eye and also you can locate the raw building materials at your regional residence great shop. When you make use of these kinds of blocks, you will require to use mortar to mount them, so doing it on your own is probably not the very best alternative if you have no experience doing this sort of job. Additionally, weep holes might require to be included and also in order for these walls to be created properly, seeking advice from a retaining wall contractor is normally the best means.

Poured Concrete

Poured concrete is incredibly strong and resilient, as well as while the majority of people think about concrete as a bland as well as awful structure product, there are a lot of discolorations, veneers, stamping, as well as carving alternatives to aid bring truth charm of concrete to your property.

You should constantly have concrete put by an expert due to the fact that it can fracture as well as be prone to wall failure otherwise done precisely right.

Retaining Wall Project Ideas: 5 Beautiful Landscaping Uses

Create elevated gardens

Developing different levels for your gardens can include a great deal of charm to your property as well as making use of retaining walls to open up extra functional space and get even more yard areas right into your property can be a great way to add charm with landscaping.

Sidewalk transitioning

You can utilize retaining walls to create pathways and also walkways to the sidewalk, permitting split and gorgeous use your front lawn property, giving you improved aesthetic charm and even more gardening space


You can create a sloping or increased driveway on your property via the use of retaining walls. This is a wonderful method to offer variety to your landscaping and add new looks as well as performance.

Patio rooms

One of one of the most enjoyable and also practical usages for retaining walls is to create a patio. There are a lot of various design opportunities for retaining wall patios and parts of the wall can even be executed as seats or tables.

Layered balconies

You can develop different areas throughout your landscaping with making use of layered terraces and retaining walls can enable you to develop these distinct areas while offering your residence a totally make over.

Best Plant Suggestions for Retaining Walls

Plants almost always accompany retaining walls as they include in the elegance of your property as well as also assist the wall to suit place. There are a range of plants that can deal with retaining walls, however the ones listed below are some fan favorites.

Climbing up Hydrangea

These plants will grow up-wards as they look to reach more sunlight, and they are generally planted at the base of your retaining wall. These will certainly assist to add appeal to the outside of your retaining wall or can hide it if you intend to keep a much more natural look.

Virginia Creeper

This alternative will not only use you small flowers in the spring however beautiful autumn leaves in the later months of the year. They can add volume and also a great deal of greenery to the outside of your retaining wall.

Climbing Rose
With gorgeous pink flowers, climbing roses will certainly include a lot of beauty to your property with the mix of pink and green, and additionally aid it to smell fragrant as well as charming.

Fairy Rose
These will be planted on the top of a wall and generate an attractive overruning impact. You will not have to worry about watering them excessive which will certainly preserve the integrity of the wall and also avoid issues from dirt pressure.

Herald Honeysuckle

These are a favorite of hummingbirds so you can attract some natural wild animals with these charming honeysuckles. You can add a great deal of vivid color to your retaining wall with this beautiful flower.

Retaining Wall Maintenance and Enhancements

If you currently have a retaining wall in place and also want to offer it a makeover, there are a couple of choices that can help upgrade your wall and also add even more appeal to your property.

If you wish to bring more life to your retaining wall, you can add slim block, stone, or concrete veneers. This is an excellent method to prevent masonry as well as greater costs and still have actually the desired visual that comes along with these stone faves.

If you discover your retaining wall has some nicks or imperfections, you can use cement-based stucco to address this problem as well as give your wall a face lift. There are a range of different tints and also tones so you can customize the look of your stucco.

If you 'd such as to include some shade to your wall, you can use a stain that will certainly add some variety and also a face-lift to your already-existing retaining wall. You can utilize a sprayer or a roller as long as the surface area of your wall is clean and unsealed.

Repairing Retaining Walls: Common Problems

Probably you've already mounted a retaining wall and also are noticing some problems with it. Can your retaining wall be recovered?

You'll need to seek a specialist consultation in order to know, however you should maintain your eye out for these telltale indicators of wall failing or required fixings.

Sagging Retaining Wall
If you see any type of dipping in your retaining wall, that shows that there is a failure in the ground of your wall. The remedy would certainly be to resolve the footing problems and after that reconstruct the wall; it might be feasible to simply rebuild the wall in that location, yet you must seek expert support or handiwork.

Cracking Retaining Wall
You need to call in a retaining wall professional quickly if you observe fracturing in your wall. Sometimes wall splits can be filled in or repaired, but if they are too deep or as well large, they may show structural damage which can be destructive.

Protruding Retaining Wall
Bulging is a typical sign of water damage or built-up water stress. You can try to pierce a weep opening into the wall to provoke the water to drain pipes out if this is the problem.

An additional problem that bulging shows is an absence of anchoring, especially in interlocking block walls or wood walls. Before beginning any kind of work, employ a professional to evaluate and also direct you.

Leaning Retaining Wall
If your wall starts to lean, there are a range of opportunities as well as they typically can not be fixed. Stopped working footing, drainage, tree roots, to name a few concerns can cause leaning and also you'll probably require to demolish and rebuild.

Altogether, the very best retaining wall is the one that fits your budget, wanted layout, purpose, and project requirements. It's feasible to construct simple retaining walls on your own, yet if you're trying to find more complex designs or functionalities, your best option is to employ a specialist as well as let them help you with your job layout and also installment. Happy building!

Need a Contractor?

If you live in Sacramento, CA and are looking to build your dream retaining wall then you've found your team. We'll take care of your retaining wall project!