What is Retaining Wall: Types and Purpose

retaining wall

What is Retaining Wall: Types and Purpose

A retaining wall is designed and created to resist the lateral pressure of the soil and provides decorative features.

Thus, having this type of wall in your place is highly beneficial for your property. It not only enhances the curb appeal of your home but also prevents other materials from slipping or collapsing from their position.

Typically, the lateral pressure that causes materials to slip or collapse is liquid pressure, sand, earth filling, and other materials behind the wall structure. This is why it’s crucial to choose the suitable wall material that can handle the pressure and keep all materials behind intact, preventing them from sliding or collapsing. 

As of 2021, there are many retaining wall designs and types based on the particular project you want to make. You may see these wall types and more using our guide below.

Types of Retaining Walls

Cantilever Retaining Wall

The cantilever wall is from a base slab and stem constructed from strengthened concrete, prestressed concrete, and pre-cast concrete. This is the most common type.

This wall type has an L shape with several options available, such as the following:

  • Reinforced masonry
  • King Post
  • L Shape Pre-cast concrete
  • Reinforced interlocking block
  • Cast in-situ concrete

Counter-fort / Buttressed Retaining Wall

This wall type is a cantilever wall with buttresses or counterforts appended to the wall’s inner face. This will further resist the lateral pressure, making the wall more reliable.

The most common materials used for this retaining wall are bricks, concrete block system, poured concrete, treated lumber, and stone.

Gravity Retaining Wall

The gravity wall is consists of massive retaining wall blocks. It requires a vast gravity load to counteract soil pressure,  formed from various materials such as bricks and concretes.

Crib Retaining Wall

The crib wall is among the oldest retaining wall types. This wall can be brick-made, concrete-made, or any other heavy materials like timber.

These walls are the kinds of gravity walls composed of interlocked single boxes made from pre-cast concrete or timber. You can fill the crib with earth back-fill or free-draining materials, allowing the hydrostatic pressure to drop and water to escape freely. 

This wall type is suited to hold planter areas but isn’t ideal for slopes or structures. 

Pile Retaining Wall

The pile wall construction may consist of the following materials: 

  • steel
  • vinyl
  • concrete
  • wood planks

These walls are typically for tight spaces and soft soil. The wood planks are then pushed to the ground through hammering to ensure their durability.

These walls are ideal for waterfronts since they can help with shoring, cofferdams, and beach erosion. Anchors are sometimes necessary for this if the walls you’re trying to build are taller.

Gabion Retaining Walls

The Gabion-style walls are made of piled stone-filled gabions tied together using a wire mesh. This wall is fitting in areas where erosion is a problem. 

These walls are also best to use in a contemporary commercial or residential setting. You can fill the wire mesh with aesthetically pleasing material, making it remarkable.

There are many available wall ideas online that you can always get inspiration from for your next project. 

Retaining Wall Purpose

In general, the retaining wall’s purpose is to prevent soil erosion and keep the materials behind it intact. Today, they’re popular as a decorative structure that boosts landscape features and enhances the curb appeal of any property.

Average Cost of Retaining Wall 

In the United Kingdom, the average cost of a retaining wall is approximately £9,900. However, the price varies according to the type of materials you want to use and the size of the load-bearing wall you need.


There are several types of retaining walls available in the market today. Thus, whether you’re doing a commercial, industrial or residential project, a retaining wall can be a great help for you. 

It doesn’t only provide pleasing aesthetics to your overall structure but also renders stability to your property. 

Xploited Media
Author: Xploited Media

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