top of page

What Exactly Is A Retaining Wall? - How Retaining Walls Work

Keeping a property safe from erosion and water is one of the most common reasons to have a retaining wall built in your yard. Retaining walls are commonly used to make sure that soil doesn’t wash away on the side of a hill or that rainwater can flow into an existing drainage system, rather than creating runoff. Retaining walls may also be commonly used as landscaping features, to elevate your outdoor living space. If you have a slope and don’t want the ground above to become overgrown with bushes or other plants, then a retaining wall might be your best option. Here is an explanation of what they are and how they work.

What Is a Retaining Wall?

Retaining walls are structures that are built to keep soil in one place. They are often made of reinforced concrete or masonry, or may also be built with wood. They may be rectangular, round, or even irregular in shape. The wall is typically constructed in such a way that it prevents eroding soil from leaving the area and causing problems. Retaining walls can be built in a number of configurations. They can be built up against a hillside to prevent soil from eroding or they can be built near a home to prevent water from flooding a basement.

Types of Retaining Walls

- Concrete Wall: A concrete wall is one that is made of a reinforced concrete mix. The mix is poured into a wall-shaped mold and cured in place. A concrete wall is strong and durable. Another advantage of concrete is that it’s relatively impervious to many forms of damage.

- Stone Wall: A stone wall is made from a variety of materials including granite, marble, sandstone, and limestone. Stone has a natural look that adds beauty to the landscape. It has the added benefit of being naturally permeable to water. Stone is also a durable material, and it’s a good choice for retaining walls that will not be maintained frequently. It is much more durable than wood.

- Wood Retaining Wall: A wood retaining wall is typically the most common, however it is also the most likely to need repairing or replacing in the future. Retaining walls serve an important purpose, therefore, over time, they may begin to fail. Wood is more prone to rotting and deterioration than other types of retaining walls.

Pros and Cons of Retaining Walls

When used to prevent soil from eroding and water from damaging property, retaining walls are an effective and useful tool.They can add an interesting yet functional look to your landscape. There are many types of retaining walls, including concrete walls and stone walls, which can be used in a multitude of designs to fit the specifications of a particular property. All types of retaining walls have one thing in common: the ability to hold back soil from eroding and prevent water damage. However, all types of retaining walls have one major drawback: maintenance. Water must permeate the soil underneath the wall regularly, or the wall will slowly erode. In addition, the wall typically has to be repaired or rebuilt when it begins to deteriorate. Because of this, make sure you hire a competent contractor with proper knowledge in regards to necessary drainage solutions for your wall.


Retaining walls are a great way to prevent soil erosion and help retain water on a hillside. Depending on the type of wall you choose, you can choose from a range of materials and designs. Retaining walls can elevate the look of your outdoor space,as they are a great landscape feature with many benefits! Contact us today if you are interested in adding a retaining wall to your property!


bottom of page