A retaining wall is a freestanding piece of masonry that is crafted with the intent of preventing soil erosion. The design can be purely functional, or highly aesthetic. Besides preventing erosion, a retaining wall can add eye-appeal, as well as organization and stability to a garden. The inherent strength of a retaining wall comes from the materials and the engineering of the wall. It’s also a function of the height of the wall arrayed against the slope of the ground it is used for. Generally speaking, most retaining walls can withstand a lot of pressure. However, they can crack and even collapse with the advent of too much liquid accumulating behind them. Therefore weep-holes and drainage pipes are good design characteristics for a retaining wall.
Retaining walls are usually easy to put in. They last and they fit in well even in constricted areas. Nonetheless, it’s important to consider what is the right material and design structure for a given retaining wall project. For example, the use of such a wall in a parking lot would create stresses on the wall that would not occur in a garden. There are a number of types of retaining walls. These include cantilevered, piled and anchored retaining walls. Cantilevered retaining walls are meant to resist the lateral pressure of soil areas. They are a type of walls that is often L or T shaped. Often they have buttresses that adjoin the base of the structure. The piled type of retaining wall, as the name implies, is made up of piles that go deep into the ground. Sheet-piling is a sub-type of this wall. It is quite thin but still very strong, as it is comprised of steel-reinforced concrete. The anchored type of retaining wall has an anchored tie-back affixed within the soil behind the wall. Anchoring a retaining wall will bolster a thin or lighter wall.
- A retaining wall is a freestanding piece of masonry, specifically created to hold the topsoil behind it in place, thereby preventing erosion.
- The slope of the soil and the height of the wall must interact to best advantage. There is generally a maximum height for a given type of retaining wall.
- A retaining wall will crack if too much water accumulates behind it, which is why a drainage pipe or weep-hole is a good idea.
“Despite their simple appearance, a retaining wall is a sophisticated structure that’s resisting the power of gravity at every moment.”