Retaining walls provide two main benefits for landscaping: stabilization of soil and erosion prevention, as well as providing terraced surfaces for garden features. They also reduce flooding and erosion during heavy rainstorms.

Retaining walls not only add functionality, but can add an aesthetic element to your property as well. Selecting the appropriate material for your retaining wall is vital; this article provides guidance for making an informed decision.


The best materials for a retaining wall must be durable enough to withstand the forces it was meant to support, such as natural stone retaining walls. When designed and treated properly, natural stone walls can last many years while adding aesthetic value to the landscape. Concrete, masonry and even wood are popular choices when selecting materials for these structures.

A retaining wall can help reduce soil erosion and stabilize slopes, making infrastructure creation and outdoor living spaces easier. Retaining walls also provide terraced planting beds and landscaping features for plantings or features like water features that require drainage – helping prevent flooding as well as sinkhole formation in places such as Florida, Alabama, Missouri and Texas with limestone bedrock terrains.

Designing a retaining wall requires considering its type of construction in order to select materials most suitable for its design. A gravity wall uses its weight to resist lateral soil pressure and is typically constructed out of stones or bricks and concrete; cantilevered walls utilise leverage against this pressure by utilising steel-reinforced solid concrete slabs whereas gravity walls utilize weight as their means to resist it.

For higher-strength retaining walls, hybrid systems may be employed. These may include precast concrete; dry-laid modular block systems (with options to add architectural, masonry or brick finishes); gabion walls; these can all be stacked to form different levels on slopes while being reinforced with metal mesh or timber reinforcement for increased strength and stability.

Concrete block or poured walls are another great choice for creating a retaining wall, as they tend to be among the most durable options and relatively economical. When building one of these types of walls, make sure the first course is laid on level ground by staggering its joints so as to avoid cracking or movement and fill in any holes with crushed stone for extra support.

Wood retaining walls can be another durable choice, though typically only suitable for walls up to four feet high. When treating wooden walls with preservatives and waterproofing agents, and monitoring for signs of rot, care must be taken. Brick walls also make great retaining wall materials as their wide array of colors complement almost all styles of architecture.


Keeping walls are constantly exposed to soil and moisture. The freeze-thaw cycle that affects masonry cracking, spalling and loosening also has an effect on retaining walls when soil moisture content increases, weakening them over time and potentially leading to their shift or collapse.

Well-designed and constructed retaining walls should remain stable for many years, but should be periodically evaluated to assess their stability. Soil conditions that weakened concrete retaining walls may cause wood ones to rot over time, necessitating regular maintenance to replace rotting wood components and structural elements.

Attributes that contribute to retaining wall stability include soil conditions and type of material used. Concrete or masonry walls tend to be strong and durable options that work well in most applications; however, construction must take into account site specific conditions and use for maximum effectiveness; for example a parking lot wall requires extra reinforcement while garden retaining structures might need different design considerations altogether.

Dependent upon its height and size, retaining walls may need to be reinforced or constructed at greater depths. Pile or MSE (mechanically stabilized earth) walls may be an option to support taller wall heights than traditional concrete or masonry retaining walls by driving deeper into the ground – creating Hybrid or Composite Retaining Walls which provide both mass and stability simultaneously.

A retaining wall can make your property more functional, as it enables you to plant gardens or landscaping on sloped areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. Furthermore, it can help prevent erosion by keeping soil from shifting downward and helping prevent sinkhole formation – two issues common among areas with limestone bedrock. In addition, retaining walls help control rainwater flow so as to not wash away soil or pollute nearby waterways.


Retaining walls add a visual enhancement to landscapes. Constructed out of concrete, wood, stone or any other material retaining walls provide visual enhancement as they add order and structure while increasing functionality of areas they border while increasing curb appeal and value for any property they border.

Retaining walls are constructed to counter the force of gravity and prevent soil erosion, often used in landscaping or engineering projects such as terracing or garden bed creation. They’re commonly constructed of concrete, brick or natural stone – freestanding structures engineered to withstand gravity forces as well as overturning and bending moments, shear forces, lateral pressure forces.

Many retaining wall materials are available for building these structures, each offering its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the more popular options include concrete, brick, stone and wood retaining wall construction materials. Concrete stands out as being flexible yet cost-effective option; it can either be poured on-site into solid blocks, or prefabricated and delivered directly to job site installation locations for easier installation. It’s a popular choice among residential gardens or retaining walls.

Brick retaining walls are timeless construction material that complement any architectural style, yet require skill and labor intensive building techniques for proper completion. Due to their heavy weight and need for extensive footings, this may also prove costly.

Stone retaining walls are a timeless material, perfect for adding natural elegance and durability to any landscaping design. Their timeless beauty can be enhanced with unique carvings to complete the aesthetic of any room or area. Stone walls also make an excellent option when used to hold back plants such as shrubs and flowers; larger retaining walls can even accommodate climbing vines like morning glories and clematis!

In designing your retaining wall, it’s essential to consider drainage and how much rain your yard receives. Retaining walls constructed in accordance with best practices can prevent flooding and erosion caused by heavy downpours.

Backfill for retaining walls should consist of gravel and native soil mixed in proportion, laid at an appropriate thickness that complements the height of the wall, then packed loosely behind this gravel layer in order to avoid excessive pressure on its walls.


Cost of retaining wall materials varies based on type, size, location and height. Prices can also be affected by site preparation costs, labor expenses, permit fees, soil delivery charges and waterproofing services. To gain a better idea of the costs associated with your retaining wall project, discuss this with an experienced contractor and identify which materials you wish to use for construction.

A retaining wall can be constructed using brick, concrete, gabion and stone gabions, wood railroad tie or rammed earth materials – each offering their own advantages and disadvantages for your landscape design project. Working with an experienced retaining wall professional is key when selecting the appropriate option for you and your landscape design project.

Retaining walls help prevent soil erosion by creating functional areas on sloped properties and helping control runoff, thus decreasing water that erodes soil. Furthermore, they control surface runoff and help limit runoff into waterways which then further erode soil.

Gravity retaining walls use their own weight to resist lateral earth pressure and can be constructed out of precast concrete, concrete blocks, stone or masonry materials. Gravity walls are frequently employed in sunken patios, walkout basements and other hardscape environments that feature sudden differences between elevation and ground surface levels.

Concrete walls are an economical and long-term option for creating retaining walls, with various designs such as steps or terraces possible. For an attractive finish, incorporating natural stones can give your wall an appealing face.

Brick has long been recognized as an attractive, practical material since early civilization. Durable yet versatile, it makes a wonderful accent piece in any design style or setting – although constructing brick retaining walls may prove more challenging and require assistance from an experienced mason or landscaper.

Natural stone retaining walls are another popular choice, being eco-friendly and offering an array of colors, shapes, and sizes. Stone can create truly one-of-a-kind designs to enhance any landscape or architecture while being durable with low maintenance requirements. Unfortunately, though stone walls may be costly and difficult to install; also not suitable in all locations.