How To Build A Retaining Wall

18 November 2021
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

Retaining walls allow you to support soil when creating landscapes or controlling soil erosion. Unlike your home's walls, retaining walls should be built to withstand pressure from the supported soil. If you need to construct a retaining wall in your home, read this article for a few valuable tips. 

Check Applicable Laws

Residential construction works are heavily regulated in Australia. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to assess the building code and planning regulations to determine if you need a permit to build a retaining wall on your property. Although the local council might not visit your home to stop the works, failure to get the required permits could devalue your home since future property buyers could consider the wall a risk. 

Type Of Wall

Below are the different types of retaining walls you can build: 

  • Concrete sleeper walls: Pre-cast concrete sleeper blocks are inserted into steel posts attached to concrete piers beneath the ground. They come in many designs, are cost-effective and can be built in constricted areas. However, they are difficult to waterproof.
  • Cut stone walls: These walls use gravity to improve their strength. They are easy to install and ideal in areas where you cannot install concrete footings. However, they must be a little longer.
  • Gabion walls: Gabions are steel mesh baskets filled with small stones. They are stacked to form a rigid retaining wall. These walls are cheap and easy to install. However, if a steel mesh breaks, the whole wall will collapse.
  • Reinforced concrete retaining walls: They are made from pre-cast hollow concrete blocks. Once the blocks interlock, they are filled with concrete. Although expensive, these walls are durable and can be built higher than concrete sleeper and cut stone retaining walls. Besides, these walls are easy to waterproof. 

The retaining wall must have a proper drainage system to prevent hydrostatic pressure. Ideally, you should backfill the area behind the wall with gravel and install drainage pipes to drain water inside the soil. 

Hire An Experienced Contractor

While you may be interested in a DIY retaining wall project, it is always wise to hire a contractor. The professional will assess the area and recommend a suitable wall. For example, if it has a bedrock, it would be challenging to build concrete footings. As such, the contractor could recommend the use of natural stone or gabions. Besides, the contractor will come up with a suitable design to increase the appeal of your landscape. Your contractor must be licenced to construct retaining walls. Moreover, they should have adequate insurance and give guarantees. 

When building a retaining wall, check applicable laws, choose a suitable wall and hire an experienced contractor. Keep these tips in mind when looking to build retaining walls.