The 101 On The Types Of Retaining Walls


There are numerous reasons why retaining walls are so popular in both residential and business landscaping. They provide you with the opportunity to add stunning stonework and curb appeal to space and enhance your surroundings. There are several elements to consider while planning and installing a retaining wall, regardless of whether it would be for residential property usage or commercial grounds. You may question what type of wall would work best for the site, how low the foundation has to be sunk, if it needs to be strengthened, or even what material is ideal for the setting. 

Before you plan and select aesthetics for your wall, you must first analyze the location and environmental variables that might cause your fence to fail. A retaining wall requires precise design and layout to avoid becoming a hazard or a liability. This article discusses several important factors in selecting the best retaining wall for your project.

What precisely is a retaining wall?

A retaining wall is a composition employed to keep the soil at two distinct elevations (formed by cut and fill) by holding the ground laterally and resisting lateral pressures generated by earth pressure.

What are the different types of retaining walls?

Retaining walls come in various shapes and sizes, each with its surface look and style.

Let’s look at the different types of retaining walls below: 

Gravity Walls
  • Gravity walls are built of heavy materials such as stone, enormous concrete blocks, or cast-in-place concrete and utilize their weight to support the soil behind them.
  • Gravity barriers can be as little as four feet high or as tall as 10 feet without augmentation. Walls greater than 4 feet, most municipalities require building permits.
  • In terms of cost efficiency, it would be in the midrange.
  1. Cantilevers Retaining Walls

One of the most popular types of retaining walls in Perth, Cantilever retaining walls are constructed in the form of an inverted T with reinforced concrete or mortared masonry and run on the notion of leverage. They are made up of a slender stem and a base slab. The heel and toe of the base are similarly split into two sections. The portion of the foundation underneath the backfill is known as the heel. The other half of the base is the toe.

  • It uses far less concrete than monolithic gravity barriers but needs greater planning and attention to detail.
  • It generally cost-effective up to a height of around 25 feet.
  • It’s possible to have it prefabricated at a factory or made on site.

2. Counterforts Walls 

Counterfort retaining walls include a counterfort connected to the inside face of the wall to help resist lateral thrust. Materials for retaining walls include treated timber, concrete block systems, stone, brick, and poured concrete.

  • The counterfort connects the slab and the foundation, and their purpose is to minimise the soil’s shear pressures and bending moments on the wall. The other concrete has a secondary effect of increasing the wall’s weight.
  • It’s possible to have it prefabricated or form it on the spot.
  • For heights over 25 feet, counterfort retaining walls are more cost-effective than cantilever walls.

3. Sheet and bored pile walls 

Sheet piles are interlocking pieces of sheet steel driven into the ground to provide permanent or temporary earth retention and excavation support.

  • Sheet pile retaining walls are utilized in soft soil and confined areas and are built of precast concrete, sheet metal, vinyl, or wood planks. 
  • Vibrating and pounding the boards into the ground ensures their solidity. 
  • Taller walls necessitate the use of an anchor that is connected to the wall and then embedded in the soil. 
  • They’re useful for coastal erosion, shoring, excavations, and spillways and can be used along waterfronts.


Whatever wall type you choose, ensure you’ve properly assessed your site’s geography, geology, and drainage needs. Many manufacturers have in-house engineers that specialize in wall design and may provide assistance.


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