Home Improvements

Building Retaining Walls that Are Sturdy

When built right, retaining walls are a reliable solution if you want to create a level surface on a hilly area or a slope in your garden. However, several retaining wall contractors can attest, not all walls of this kind are designed to be as sturdy as they can be. 

A retaining wall is considered poorly built if:

It has an uneven base

It lacks compacted material in the front 

It has poorly fitted blocks

It has no step-back

Things to Consider

When building retaining walls in your yard, hiring a professional residential landscaping service that has experience with retaining walls will help. Landscaping experts are aware of the different wall elements that need to be considered when erecting a lasting retaining wall. 

These include:

A Solid Soil Foundation

Many garden owners focus on how strong their retaining walls would be from the front. However, if you ask most retaining wall contractors, they will tell you that the material that goes behind your wall is more important. Over time, a poorly built wall can be pushed forward and toppled by the very soil that it attempts to contain. 

Behind retained walls, the soil is divided into two: the undisturbed soil that has been naturally compacted and the soil that was added to fill any empty space between the wall and the undisturbed soil. Because of gravity, the weight of the additional soil will be directed at the lower part of your wall. As a countermeasure, you have to: 

Install the foundation and bottom-most part of the retaining wall deeply into the ground (about 1/10th of the height of the wall). 

Step back your retaining wall materials to allow the wall to lean and push against the filling soil. 

Have solidly compacted material as your base.


Drainage is an important aspect of landscaping, especially when building retaining walls. Take note that uncontrolled water (which may come from your sprinkling system or from natural sources like rain) can weaken your wall over time. 

Therefore, you need to equip your walls with a fast exit route that will redirect this water into the right channels. A well-built wall must: 

Allow water to flow over the wall and seep through blocks to alleviate pressure

Have compacted soil behind to block large volumes of water from soaking in

Have a landscape fabric that prevents soil from entering the gravel (the gravel allows water to reach your drain tile) 

Have a drain tile that moves water away from your retaining wall


Businesses that provide residential landscaping services in 18940 know that landscape timbers are not enough to hold back the soil. Therefore, they use reinforcement materials in the form of “dead men” to lock the wall into the soil behind it. Other popular materials include concrete, stones, and manufactured blocks. Not every landscaping company in 19047 understands that.

Any retaining wall contractors in Newtown worth their weight will seek out the proper permits and get the approval of a building inspector along the way. DKC is one of those landscapers serving lower Bucks County that you can trust to build you a sturdy wall.

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