What Are the Different Types of Retaining Walls?

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A retaining wall serves a critical purpose of holding soil in place and preventing erosion. But beyond its functional necessity, a retaining wall can add a stylish and aesthetic element to your landscape design.

When planning your retaining wall, it’s important to know the different types available and what they’re suited for.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss a few common types of retaining walls, so you can make an informed decision on which one is right for your landscaping needs.

Let’s get started!

The Basics of Retaining Walls

Your home is your safe haven, a place where you can relax and unwind after a long day.

However, an uneven yard or poor soil quality around the perimeter of your home can complicate things. This is where retaining walls come into play. Not only do they keep the soil at bay, but they can also add beauty and dimension to your property.

There are a few different types of retaining wall styles. Let’s take a closer look at them below.

Gravity Retaining Walls

A gravity retaining wall is the most basic type and is not reinforced with any material. It relies solely on the weight and width of the wall to keep soil in place. This type of wall is perfect for low structures like garden walls that do not exceed four feet in height.

A gravity wall is the simplest and cheapest to build, so if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to stabilize your soil, this is the way to go.

Reinforced Soil Retaining Walls

A reinforced soil wall is made up of a series of blocks or sheets made of concrete, metal, or plastic, laid on top of each other to create a barrier against soil erosion. The wall is reinforced by a material such as mesh or steel bars and is then filled with compacted soil.

These types of walls are better suited for higher retaining walls of up to 30 feet. They are also more expensive to build and require a professional to complete.

Embedded Retaining Walls

When you need to retain a lot of soil in a small or narrow area, an embedded retaining wall would be the best option. These walls are constructed with a series of steel or concrete posts and are drilled into the soil.

The posts are then filled with compacted soil, and the wall is built up layer by layer.

The advantage of an embedded wall is that they do not take up much space and can be hidden behind plants or other structures.

Cantilever Retaining Walls

Cantilever retaining walls are a cost-effective option that uses less material than other types of walls. They are made up of a concrete footing and two vertical beams that angle back, creating a “T” shape.

The beams are then filled with compacted soil, creating a stable wall that can handle a significant amount of pressure.

Cantilever walls are perfect for areas where space is limited but still require a wall that can handle the weight of the soil.

What Are the Most Common Retaining Wall Materials?

Whether you’re working with a professional landscaping contractor or making it a DIY project, it’s always a good idea to understand the basics of choosing retaining wall materials. Here are some of the most common retaining wall materials you can choose from.

1. Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks are by far the most common retaining wall material used, and they’re a popular choice due to their durability and low cost.

Concrete blocks come in various sizes and shapes, which allows for extensive customization. They also offer excellent stability and are easy to install. They also don’t require a lot of maintenance.

That said, without other finishing work, like painting, they aren’t always the most attractive – and they may not blend well with the surrounding landscape. Some people avoid them because of their tendency to crack under harsh weather conditions.

2. Natural Stone

Natural stone retaining walls are classic and elegant. They have a timeless aesthetic appeal and come in a wide range of textures, colors, and sizes. Natural stone walls enhance the natural beauty of outdoor spaces and create a calming ambiance. They are durable and low maintenance.

However, natural stone walls are expensive, and they require a high level of skill to install correctly. The stone’s irregular shape also makes it hard to achieve a level surface, making the installation process more challenging. They’re also not suitable for highly sloped or terraced landscapes.

3. Timber

Timber retaining walls are an excellent choice for homeowners who want a warm, rustic look for their outdoor spaces. They’re easy to install and affordable. They also offer excellent drainage and don’t require much maintenance.

With that said, timber walls are susceptible to rotting, warping, and insect infestations. They’re also not very durable compared to other materials and can quickly deteriorate under harsh weather conditions.

4. Poured Concrete

Poured concrete walls are a popular and durable choice for retaining walls. They offer great stability and strength and can handle heavy loads. They’re also customizable, as they can be painted, stamped, or stained to match the surrounding landscape.

However, poured concrete walls are the most expensive option and do not have an attractive appearance compared to other materials. They also require a fair amount of professional work to install.

5. Brick

Brick retaining walls offer a classic, traditional look that adds a touch of elegance to any outdoor space. They’re relatively low maintenance and durable. Additionally, bricks come in various sizes and colors, making customization easier.

Like natural stones, bricks are expensive, and the installation process requires a high level of skill and expertise. They’re also not as stable as concrete blocks and cannot handle as much weight.

Choose the Best in Retaining Walls That West Hartford, CT Has to Offer

Do you dream of creating a terraced garden, leveling an uneven yard, or adding extra seating areas to your outdoor space, but just can’t seem to make the land work for you?

Choosing the right retaining wall for your home or business in West Hartford, CT, requires careful consideration of material, height, design, and countless other factors.

But with the help of a landscaping expert like Bellingrath Bros Landscape & Design, a retaining wall can be a simple and stylish solution to your outdoor space needs. It can dramatically boost your curb appeal, too. Bellingrath Bros. Landscape & Design is a top West Hartford retaining wall contractor.

We can guide you through every step of the process, from design to installation, to ensure that you get the best value and highest quality for your investment. Contact us today to start planning your new retaining wall!