How to Build a Retaining Wall: The Ultimate Guide

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If you’re looking to increase the value of your home, add some extra living space, or simply want a beautiful backyard oasis, then building a retaining wall is the project for you! This guide will teach you everything you need to know about this popular landscaping project, from planning and design to construction and maintenance. So whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, read on for all the tips and advice you’ll need to build a stunning retaining wall that will last for years!

What is a Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a structure that is built to provide support to the soil. It is generally used to retain or hold back soil, water, or other materials. Retaining walls are commonly used in landscaping and construction projects. They can be made from a variety of materials such as stone, brick, concrete, lumber, or steel. The most common type of retaining wall is the gravity wall, which relies on its weight to provide stability.

Other types of retaining walls include cantilever walls and sheet pile walls. Cantilever walls are supported by beams that extend from the wall into the ground. Sheet pile walls are made from interlocking panels that are driven into the ground. Retaining walls can be an essential part of a construction project. They can help to improve the stability of the soil and prevent erosion.

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Purpose of a Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a structure that holds back earth or water. It is used to prevent soil erosion and mudslides. It is also used to protect property from floods. The wall is built with concrete, stone, or wood. There are different types of retaining walls. Gravity walls rely on their weight to hold back the soil.

They are made with natural stone or precast concrete blocks. cantilevered walls are held in place with metal or wood beams. anchored walls use cables or rods that are driven into the ground. sheets are placed on the ground and anchored to the ground with metal pins. The most common type of retaining wall is the gravity wall.

When to Use a Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a structure that is used to hold back soil or water. It is usually made of concrete, stone, or wood, and it can be used for both residential and commercial applications. Retaining walls are often used to prevent erosion, create flat areas for landscaping, or retain soil on a slope.

When deciding whether or not to use a retaining wall, there are several factors to consider, such as the purpose of the wall, the height of the wall, and the type of soil. In general, retaining walls should be used when there is a need to hold back a large amount of soil or water. However, even small retaining walls can be effective if they are made of high-quality materials and installed correctly.

Types of Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are structures that are used to hold back or support soil, rock, or other materials. They are commonly used in situations where there is a difference in elevation between two areas, and they can be constructed from a variety of materials, including concrete, stone, brick, and wood. The most common type of retaining wall is the gravity wall, which relies on its weight to retain the material behind it.

Another type of retaining wall is the cantilevered wall, which is supported at the base and has no footing. Anchored walls are another option, and these are typically used in situations where there is a large amount of pressure on the wall. Finally, sheet pile walls are used in situations where excavation is taking place below the ground level.

How to Build a Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a structure designed to hold back earth or water. Retaining walls are built to stabilize sloped land and prevent soil erosion. They can also be built to create usable land in areas that would otherwise be unusable due to a natural slope. There are many different ways to build a retaining wall, but all retaining walls must have certain key components. These include a foundation, base course, facing, drainage system, and backfill. These are the steps to follow:

  • Establish a solid foundation. This will ensure that the wall is stable and will not shift over time.
  • Install a base course. This layer acts as both a foundation and drainage system for the wall. The facing is the visible part of the wall and can be made from stone, brick, wood, or other materials.
  • The backfill helps to reinforce the wall and keep it from collapsing under the weight of the earth or water it is holding back.
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Materials for Building a Retaining Wall

Retaining walls are common features in gardens and landscapes. They can be used to create level areas, terraces, and steps, as well as to protect against soil erosion. When choosing materials for a retaining wall, it is important to consider weight, durability, and cost. Masonry materials such as stone and brick are classic choices that are sure to add style and elegance to any garden. However, they can be quite heavy and may require professional installation.

Precast concrete blocks are another popular option that offers a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. They are also relatively easy to install, making them a good choice for do-it-yourself projects. Wood is another popular material for retaining walls. It is relatively lightweight and easy to work with, but it will need to be regularly treated to prevent rot and decay. Ultimately, the best material for a retaining wall will depend on the specific needs of the project.

Installing a Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a specially constructed wall that is used to hold back soil or water. Retaining walls are built for both functional and aesthetic purposes, and they can be constructed from a variety of materials, including stone, brick, concrete, and even wood. While retaining walls can be an important part of any landscape, they need to be designed and installed carefully to be effective.

Building a Gravity Retaining Wall

Building a gravity retaining wall is a simple and effective way to stabilize a slope. Gravity walls rely on the weight of the material used to create the wall to resist the forces of erosion. To build a gravity retaining wall:

  • Select a site that is away from any underground utilities and has a level base
  • Excavate the area for the wall to a depth of two feet.
  • Layout the first course of the block on the excavated area.
  • Use a level to make sure that the course is level before continuing. Continue building the wall by adding additional courses of block, using a level to ensure that each course is level.
  • When the wall reaches the desired height, backfill the area behind the wall with gravel to help drain any water that may collect.
  • Cover the gravel with soil and plant grass or other vegetation to help hold the soil in place.

Building a Piling or Pier Retaining Wall

A piling or pier retaining wall is a structure that is used to retain soil, sand, or other granular material to prevent it from eroding. The wall is made up of posts that are driven into the ground and then tied together with beams, cables, or other means. Piling or pier walls are often used in coastal areas to protect against waves and storms, but they can also be used inland to protect against soil erosion.

Building a piling or pier retaining wall is a major project that requires careful planning and execution. If done correctly, the wall will provide many years of protection against erosion. However, if the wall is not built properly, it can fail and cause serious damage. As such, it is important to consult with a qualified engineer before beginning any work on a piling or pier retaining wall.

Building an Anchored Retaining Wall

An anchored retaining wall is a wall that is reinforced by cables or other means attached to anchors in the ground. This type of wall is often used to support slopes or hillsides that are prone to collapse or sliding. The anchors help to keep the wall in place by providing additional support. Building an anchored retaining wall is a relatively simple process, but it is important to follow the instructions carefully:

Building a Cantilevered Retaining Wall

A cantilevered retaining wall is a structural element that is used to support soil or rock masses in situations where there is limited space for traditional footings. The cantilevered design allows the wall to be built without the need for extensive excavation, making it an ideal solution for challenging terrain. In addition, cantilevered walls are often used in earthquake-prone areas because they are less likely to collapse than other types of retaining walls. If you are considering building a cantilevered retaining wall, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • It is important to select a material that is strong enough to support the weight of the soil or rock mass.
  • The wall must be designed to withstand the forces of nature, including wind, rain, and earthquakes.
  • The wall must be carefully constructed to ensure that it will not collapse under the pressure of the soil or rock mass.
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When done correctly, a cantilevered retaining wall can provide years of trouble-free service.

Tips for Building a Retaining Wall

Retaining walls are an important tool for any homeowner who wants to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space. Not only can they be used to add visual interest, but they can also help to control erosion and improve drainage. If you’re thinking of building a retaining wall, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • It’s important to choose the right material. There are a variety of options available, including bricks, stones, and even reinforced concrete. Once you’ve selected the material, you’ll need to ensure that the wall is properly compacted. This will help to prevent it from shifting or collapsing over time.
  • Make sure that the wall is properly drained. A well-designed retaining wall will have weep holes or other means of allowing water to escape.

Maintaining Your Retaining Wall

Retaining walls are an important part of any landscape. Not only do they provide support for slopes and hillsides, but they can also help to create beautiful garden beds and terraces. However, retaining walls require regular maintenance to stay in good condition. Over time, soil and water can slowly erode the base of the wall, causing it to lean or collapse.

To prevent this from happening, it is important to regularly inspect your retaining wall and make any necessary repairs. In addition, you should also invest in a good drainage system to ensure that water does not build up behind the wall and cause it to fail. By following these simple tips, you can keep your retaining wall looking its best for years to come.

Repairing Your Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a structure that holds back earth or water. There are many reasons to have a retaining wall, including preventing soil erosion, creating level areas in your yard, and adding visual interest. If you have a retaining wall on your property, it is important to inspect it regularly for signs of damage. cracks, lean, and bulges are all indications that your retaining wall needs repair.

In some cases, the damage may be cosmetic and can be fixed with a little elbow grease. However, if the damage is structural, it is important to seek professional help. Repairing a retaining wall may require the use of heavy machinery, and it is always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your safety.

Hiring a Professional to Build Your Retaining Wall

Building a retaining wall is a serious project that requires careful planning and execution. In most cases, it is best to hire a professional contractor to handle the job. A professional will have the necessary experience and equipment to build a safe and stable wall.

They will also be able to advise you on the best materials to use for your particular project. In addition, a professional contractor will be familiar with local building codes and regulations. Hiring a professional to build your retaining wall is the best way to ensure that the job is done right.

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Questions to Ask When Hiring a Contractor

When you’re ready to hire a contractor, there are some key questions you’ll want to ask to ensure that you’re getting the best possible service.

  • Find out how long the contractor has been in business. You’ll want to look for someone with experience who has a good track record.
  • Ask about the contractor’s licensing and insurance. This is important to make sure that they’re legitimate and that you’re protected in case of any accidents.
  • Find out how the contractor plans to build your retaining wall. Find out what materials they’ll be using and how they’ll be putting it all together.

By asking these key questions, you can be sure that you’re hiring a reputable contractor who will do a great job on your project.

Getting a Written Estimate

Most people hire a professional to do their landscaping for them. But what if you’re the kind of person who likes to do things yourself? Maybe you’re on a tight budget, or maybe you just like the satisfaction of a job well done. Either way, you’ll need to get a written estimate before starting any work. Here’s how to build a retaining wall:

  • Determine how much material you’ll need. This will depend on the size and shape of the area you’re working with. Once you have a good idea of the amount of material you’ll need, it’s time to start shopping around.
  • Get quotes from several different companies and compare prices. Be sure to ask about any discounts or promotions that might be available.
  • Once you’ve found a company that you’re comfortable with, it’s time to get a written estimate. This should include an itemized list of all the materials and labor involved in the project.
  • Be sure to read over the estimate carefully and ask any questions that you have before signing on the dotted line.
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With a little bit of planning and research, you can be sure that your landscaping project will go off without a hitch.

Tips for Choosing a Good Contractor

Building a retaining wall is a big job, and you want to be sure you hire a qualified contractor to do the work. Here are a few tips to help you choose a good contractor:

  1. Get recommendations from friends or family who have had similar work done. This is one of the best ways to find a qualified contractor.
  2. Check out the contractor’s website and make sure they have experience with building retaining walls. If they don’t have any information about this type of work on their website, it’s probably best to keep looking.
  3. Give the contractor a call and ask for references. Be sure to follow up with these references and ask about their experience with the contractor.
  4. When you meet with the contractor, be sure to ask about their experience with building retaining walls and get an estimate for the cost of the project.

What to Do If You Have Problems With Your Contractor

If you’re having problems with your contractor, the first step is to try to resolve the issue directly with them. If that doesn’t work, or if you’re not comfortable doing that, there are a few other options. You can reach out to their licensing board or professional association, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, or contact your local consumer protection agency.

You may also want to consult an attorney to see if you have any legal recourse. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may also want to consider contacting the police or filing a report with your insurance company. Ultimately, taking action quickly is important to protecting your rights and ensuring that the problem is resolved.


A retaining wall is an essential part of any landscaping project. It can help stabilize the soil, prevent erosion, and create a beautiful focal point in your yard. In this guide, you’ve learned all about retaining walls: what they are, when to use them, the different types available, how to measure and prepare your site, select materials, and install your new wall. You’ve also learned some tips on maintaining and repairing your retaining wall. Now that you have all this knowledge, you can decide whether to hire a professional contractor or do the job yourself. Thanks for reading!


How much do retaining walls cost?

The cost of a retaining wall depends on the materials used, the size and height of the wall, and whether you hire a professional contractor or do the job yourself. Expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $30 per square foot for a simple wood or concrete block wall. More complex walls made of stone or brick can cost upwards of $50 per square foot.

How long do retaining walls last?

A well-built retaining wall should last for many years. However, the lifespan of your wall will depend on the materials used and the conditions it’s exposed to. For example, a wooden wall may only last 10-15 years, while a concrete wall could last 25-30 years. Regular maintenance and repairs can help extend the life of your wall.

What is the best material for a retaining wall?

Many different materials can be used to build a retaining wall. The best material for your wall will depend on the purpose of the wall, the look you want to achieve, and your budget. Some popular materials include wood, concrete, stone, and brick.

How do I know if my property needs a retaining wall?

If your property is located on a slope or has poor drainage, a retaining wall may be necessary to prevent soil erosion and protect your home from water damage. If you’re not sure whether you need a retaining wall, consult with a professional contractor or landscape architect. They will be able to assess your property and give you expert advice.

How do I choose the right contractor for my retaining wall project?

When choosing a contractor for your retaining wall project, it’s important to select someone with experience and expertise. Ask for referrals from friends or family, or check out online reviews. Once you’ve found a few contractors you’re interested in, be sure to get quotes and compare prices. And finally, don’t forget to ask for a written contract before work begins!

Why trust Handyman.Guide?

s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

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