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Different Types Of Retaining Wall

Dec 17


Retaining walls are often an important part of your landscaping plans, whether you’re redesigning the front yard or creating a backyard paradise. Depending on your needs and preferences, there are several different types of retaining walls you can use to achieve your goals. This article discusses 5 common types of retaining walls and what to look for when choosing one.

Types of Retaining Wall

Retaining walls are used to hold back earth from an embankment or slope of any kind that may be on commercial or residential property. If you are considering adding a retaining wall to your property, it’s good to know the different types of retaining walls available so you can decide which would be the best option for your specific needs and wants. Of course, the type of retaining wall you choose also depends on how much money you want to spend as there are both costly and inexpensive options out there. Here are five different types of retaining walls that exist today.

A block wall

Block walls, also known as concrete block walls, are the most popular and cost-effective type of retaining wall. They are built out of concrete blocks that are stacked on top of one another to create a sturdy wall. The blocks are then reinforced with steel rods or wire mesh to prevent them from shifting, sliding, or cracking during use. 

Block walls have a high load-bearing capacity and can be constructed in any shape or size. However, they require extensive preparation for installation which makes them more expensive than other types of retaining walls. These materials also cannot be used if groundwater is present at depths greater than 36 inches due to the risk of water percolating up through the blocks when saturated.

A rubble concrete wall

This type of retaining wall is made up of a stony rubble concrete mixture. It's made by mixing sand, stone, and cement to form a binding agent. The aggregate is then poured into the formwork and compacted down with a rammer. This produces the desired height for the wall.

However, this type of retaining wall isn't recommended for slopes that are more than 20 degrees because it's more prone to erosion from water. It also requires an experienced professional as its construction can be complicated and require high-end equipment. For these reasons, we don't recommend this type of retaining wall unless necessary.

A structural retaining wall

Structural retaining walls are a great way to create a barrier and hold back the earth. They can also be used for a variety of other purposes, such as creating terraces, building up natural slopes, and raising the height of an existing wall. There are five types of structural retaining walls: 

  • Dry stack 
  • Pier & Slab
  • Crib wall
  • Gravity wall 
  • Veneer 

A dry stack retaining wall is built without mortar in between the stones. These stones have to be well-placed so that they do not fall out from pressure or weight. A pier and slab retaining wall have concrete piers (pillars) with precast concrete slabs on top that form a stable footing. The most common type of pier and slab retaining wall uses reinforced concrete to help withstand forces from all directions. 

A crib wall is one made from a series of wooden posts set into the ground with boards laid across them. The boards are then nailed to each other at the joints so that they form a sturdy platform onto which more boards can be placed before being nailed down again. Gravity walls depend on the force of gravity instead of any physical support like in a pier and slab or dry stack retaining wall. 

These walls use cement-filled bags that are stacked side by side until there is enough weight to make the wall stable. With this type of retaining wall, it may not be possible to use heavy equipment like tractors when it comes time for landscaping. Finally, a veneer retaining wall consists of many thin layers of stone or bricks that can easily break off if hit hard enough; these materials should always be surrounded by stronger stone materials to prevent erosion and damage due to weathering.

A bioswale

Bioswales are a type of natural retaining wall. They are designed to filter water, slow down stormwater runoff, and increase the infiltration of rainwater into the ground. Bioswales also help to reduce pollution and erosion in urban areas by capturing sediment and nutrients before they reach streams, rivers, lakes, or oceans. 

The bioswale's natural filter removes these pollutants from the water supply before they can adversely affect wildlife and people. These filters have helped solve some significant problems with flooding in some neighborhoods as well. By slowing down stormwater it gives nature more time to absorb the excess, so less water flows downstream. Retaining wall contractors Pittsburgh create great solutions for many residential and commercial clients throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

An earth berm

Earth berms are made of dirt, rock, and other materials that support the weight of a retaining wall. Earth berms are one of the oldest forms of retaining walls, but they’re also one of the easiest to build just pile up dirt and rocks until it's high enough. The height you want will depend on what you plan on putting in front of your earth berm. If you're trying to use it as a foundation for landscaping then 12 inches should be fine; if you're using it for purely decorative purposes then go with 18 inches or higher.

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