Retaining walls are structures built to retain soils at different levels by preventing soil movement or erosion. They can be used to help level a sloped or uneven yard, tier flowerbeds or support large structures. There are several materials used to build retaining walls with each providing a different aesthetic. Materials used for retaining walls include:
Brick – Brick retaining walls are durable, long lasting and low maintenance. They are great at withstanding the elements and will continue to keep looking beautiful throughout the years. Some brick, as well as stone and concrete, retaining walls may require special accommodations for drainage depending on the landscape.
Concrete Blocks – Concrete blocks have extremely long lifespans, lasting almost a century with proper care. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are relatively inexpensive. Just keep in mind that this type of retaining wall needs to be carefully designed and are best used for walls under 4 feet tall.
Concrete (poured) – Poured concrete retaining walls are long lasting and offer great support, being much stronger than block walls. To achieve a prettier look, you can also stain or stamp concrete if you want to add something extra. However, these retaining walls do have several cons. They may crack over time, if not built with additional structural support. Water build up could damage any sort of paint or varnish and concrete can be easily damaged by chemicals.
Masonry – Brick or stone masonry walls have character and charm. And although they can be very pretty, they are more costly than other materials because of the time and masonry skill required.
Timber – Wooden retaining walls are less expensive, but also have a shorter lifespan. Time and weather can encourage rot, but fortunately they are easier to dismantle than other materials, so fixes and replacements are easier. They can only be used for walls 4 feet or shorter, as they aren’t as
strong as concrete, brick or stone.