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Friday, February 23, 2024

Retaining Walls: How They Are Used in Construction

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Construction companies use retaining walls for a variety of reasons. While their primary purpose is to hold the soil back, they also help enhance visual appeal, make slopes functional, and reduce soil erosion. In this post, we’ll look at how construction companies use retaining walls and the factors that influence their decision while building them.

Different uses of retaining walls in construction

Retaining walls add visual appeal

Real estate developers use retaining walls to create a unique landscape for their projects. Visual appeal is one factor that adds value to a real estate property, making it easier to sell. Technically, retaining walls are applied to level a surface area to develop structures. Click here to learn more about earth retaining walls and other precast products for construction.

They prevent soil erosion

Construction companies use retaining walls to hold the land behind them. They are designed to withstand the soil’s lateral force, preventing runoff from washing away a property’s soil. A gabion wall is the most frequently used retaining wall for this purpose. They come highly recommended by contractors for locations prone to soil erosion.

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Retaining walls ensure safety

Developers use retaining walls to improve safety around residential and commercial properties. Since these structures manage water flow around a property, the likelihood of slipping while moving around is greatly minimised. It also reduces flood-related health risks.

Retaining walls keep soil particles and contain waste. So, they are installed in real estate areas that face major roads or other public places with a high volume of human traffic to prevent debris from crumbling and creating accidents.

Retaining walls make slopes useful

Working on steep slopes is challenging. Nonetheless, building contractors will not consider a project unworkable simply because it is situated on a slope. They figure out a solution to get around the slope and complete the project. Most often, retaining walls would be their first choice.

Key elements to consider when constructing retaining walls

  1. The foundation

During construction, contractors must ensure that the wall is adequately anchored in the earth. The strength and type of the foundation will affect the wall’s ability to hold the soil in place.

The foundation type will differ depending on the type of retaining wall. Large walls, for example, will need a structural footing that is buried beneath the ground. In most cases, poured concrete is used. A gravel-filled trench can be used to support a small retaining wall.

  1. Support

It might be an essential element as it enables the main function of retaining walls — that is to retain soil.

  1. The backfill

When the wall is finished, the section directly behind it must be filled to the correct surface level. Some developers use the soil removed from the area. At times, sand and gravel are also used as backfill.

  1. Drainage

Proper drainage is crucial for retaining walls as they prevent the rear part of the wall from collecting water.


To sum it up, seeking professional advice can ensure a properly installed retaining wall. The incorrect installation compromises the wall’s integrity, which will become a bigger problem over time.

Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/gabion-zink-plated-quarry-grey-5037490/

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