Local:1 530 887-YARD  (530-887-9273)
Toll Free:1 800 YARD GUY  (800-927-3489)
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

26 Sep
Posted by Tim, The Yard Guy
The Different Types of Retaining Walls

By Rick Linder

Landscaping can be an art. Taking a page from the Far East's book, we can shape the current landscape to fill the area with an added beauty that does not detract from the natural beauty. If you have a hill or a slope that needs holding back, then a retaining wall is what you need. The concept of a retaining wall has existed for many years spanning many cultures most notably in Asian rice terraces. Some scholars have suggested that it is due to highly technical retaining wall systems that the mysterious Hanging Gardens of Babylon became possible.

Yes, we know you do not have acres upon acres to fill with fanciful hanging shrubbery or fantastic borrows to grow crops. This does not stop your lawn from reaching its full potential beauty. Here we would like to delve briefly into the various types of retaining walls to help shape your paradise on earth. We will cover gravity, cantilever, and piling walls and show the different variations connected to each type of retaining walls.

Gravity Walls

As the name implies, gravity walls rely on gravity and its own mass to stay supported, holding back the raised level of earth. The base of the wall is generally thicker than the crown. With a greater mass at the bottom, the wall is able to remain stable under strenuous pressures. For added stability, some gravity may lean back into the retained earth.

Engineers use concrete blocks and stone to make gravity walls. In general, the base of the wall is embedded in the ground in front of the slope that needs to be contained. The engineers dig out the earth to set the base in the ground and then they fill in the gaps.

Cantilever Walls

The brilliance behind cantilever walls gives credit to our understanding of angles and weight. These walls use the weight of the retained earth to give support to wall. An arm extends under the retained ground providing downward pressure that counteracts the outward force applied from the same ground.

Like gravity walls, landscaping companies create cantilever walls from poured concrete. This allows the dimensions to be specifically tailored to the needed specifications because not every landscaping project is the same.

Piling Walls

Where gravity and cantilever walls depend on their own mass to add to the resistance, piling walls use only the pressure provided by the ground. Sheet piling walls are used in softer ground an in waterfront properties. The sheet piling walls use wood, vinyl, or steel to retain the earthen wall. The wall is generally two-thirds below the surface while one-third protrudes from the surface. Sheet piling walls use the tension of the ground to provide support for the wall.

Sheet piling walls can be used on coastal properties to keep the water at bay. This allows a lawn to be maintained instead of water flooding onto the grounds.


In all of the aforementioned styles of retaining walls, engineers use anchoring in cases where the strain placed on the wall is too much for the wall to hold. Anchors attach to the wall via a cable. The anchor is usually a mechanical device that expands to cling to the dirt. Other types of anchors are cement blocks embedded in the dirt much like the mechanical anchor. Landscapers use boring tools to place the anchors where they can grasp onto the ground or rock.

These are various methods to alter the appearance and form of the native landscape. When choosing the right retaining wall for your project, make sure your choice best fits the environment and projected atmosphere. If you have any further questions, be sure to talk to your local landscaping company and they will be able to get you heading in the right direction.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Rick_Linder/1654685