Deciding on which kind of retaining wall to use depends on a myriad of factors. Remember, you have access to a wide selection of materials and designs to achieve a design you love! Consider your budget, style and retaining requirements when deciding between these popular retaining wall ideas.
“Retaining walls are usually thought of as utilitarian and for merely holding back soil. While this is true, you can also use them to create beautiful outdoor living spaces and to create multi-use spaces.” Monte Dobson, Rapid Lawn Landscape Solutions Regina.
Stone or Boulder Retaining Walls
By concreting stones or boulders in a tessellating pattern, a solid wall can be used as a rustic, natural retaining wall. While quite strong, this may not be the best approach for walls retaining large amounts of soil, especially if done DIY.
Brick Retaining Walls
Strong and sturdy, brick walls are a traditional choice of retaining walls.
They need concrete strip footings before the wall is erected on top of it to ensure it can bear the weight of what it’s retaining, and require a keen eye for detail, constant level-checking and a couple of weeks to complete, making them best left to a qualified tradesperson rather than a DIY job.
For a more modern look, a render can be applied, however, this will drive up the price on an already expensive project.
Block Retaining Walls
With block retaining walls, base trenches must be dug prior to construction. Interlocking blocks can be sourced, eradicating the need for mortar or bonding supplies, and can be found in a variety of shapes, depending on your requirements. The blocks themselves can be quite heavy and rough, so if this is a DIY project, safety provisions such as steel-capped boots and work gloves are recommended. If you suffer from back problems, or if the wall is taller than hip-height, consider having them installed professionally by a Regina retaining wall pro.
Timber Retaining Wall
Timber/wood retaining walls offer ease of installation and reduced cost and provide a rustic, natural aesthetic to your space. However, timber cannot retain as much weight as other products and may not be able to reach the heights you need. They’re also susceptible to rotting, warping, splitting or termites over time, and treatments must be applied pre-installation and retreated over the course of its life, raising its level of maintenance.
Usually used in commercial applications, wire Gabion baskets are making a chic comeback as residential retaining walls. They can be a durable, cheap alternative to concrete, and you can get creative about how you fill them. However, they take up a large amount of room and do require wide strip footings, making it unsuitable for tight spaces or properties looking to make the most of their space
Retaining walls are divided into two types divided by their height. Walls under four feet are designed and built by your contractor or per a landscape architect’s drawing. Retaining walls over four feet require much larger footings due to the increased lateral earth pressure. It must be designed by an engineer who will specify the size and extent of footings and the amount of steel reinforcement required according to strict loading calculations.
Retaining walls don’t have to be perfectly straight. Add a curve to dress up the design and to add a little more texture to your landscape. The retaining wall design below would be perfect at a lakefront cabin in Saskatchewan