Cleaning Up Your Own Backyard

2 Kinds Of Retaining Walls

by Warren Garcia

Retaining walls get used for a lot of different reasons. They can be used as a way to hold back dirt to keep hills from eroding. They can also be used as a way to delineate different spaces or to create visual appeal. There are a number of styles that you can choose to have on your property. If you aren't sure which one to go with, then you should talk to a landscaper to see what they suggest. 

Gravity Wall

These walls generally aren't anchored in any way to the dirt or hill behind them. They depend on the sheer weight and size of the wall itself to hold the dirt back. The base of the wall may sit in a trench dug into the base of the hill. A gravity wall also tends to be wider at the bottom, narrowing somewhat as they go up. The wall may also lean back a little bit to give the first more support. A gravity wall can be built out of just about anything. Concrete block, dry stacked stones, and pavers are some of the more common choices. 

Cantilevered Wall

These walls may also be called reinforced walls because there is steel running through the structure. A cantilevered wall is basically an L-shaped wall, with the horizontal part of the "L" being a concrete slab that is buried under the dirt that needs to be held back. The back of the vertical part of the wall is perpendicular to the base slab, while the front of the wall may lean a little bit back toward the dirt behind the wall. Unlike the gravity walls that depend on their weight to hold the dirt back, a cantilevered wall uses leverage. The way that it is constructed, the wall changes the pressure that is pushing horizontally against the wall into pressure that is pushing against the ground vertically. A cantilevered wall may also be built in a more buttress style in order to add more support, so the wall won't have just the support from the leverage, there will also be support from the buttress. It can also make the wall look more visually appealing. 

Talk to a landscaper about retaining walls. They can tell you what kind of wall they think will work best for you and your property. Not all walls are going to be suited for all locations, so you want to make sure that the one you get is the one you need.