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7 Common Retaining Wall Design Mistakes You Should Avoid

Retaining walls have been tested and proven in the construction of gardens, patios, and terraces for thousands of years now. This is because they are not only beautiful, but because they secure, support, and retain the soil in place. So if you have a hilly or sloping garden, a retaining wall is one of the best ways of dealing with this.

They can help you transform unusable properties into beautiful real estate and turn an old boring property into a valuable showpiece. So if you are thinking of installing retaining walls as part of your house projects, then you might want to read this article all the way to the end so you won’t make these seven common retaining wall design mistakes in the future.

1. Not Getting Permits

If you want to install a retaining wall on public property or if your property is located in an area where you need to get a permit, then make sure that you get one. If your property is located in an area where you can install retaining walls without getting a permit, then make sure that you have all the safety regulations followed.

2. Inadequate Footing and Anchorage

Make sure that you have adequate footings and anchorage for the retaining wall. You must not install a retaining wall in such a way that it collapses and brings down other structures with it. Inadequate footings and anchorage can cause structural damages and injuries to the surrounding properties and people.

3. Lack of Drainage

Before installing a retaining wall, make sure that the slope of your property is adequately drained. This is because these walls do not drain water; they should only protect and retain soil. Installing drainage for your retaining wall is crucial as this will help you prevent erosion.

4. Underestimating the Engineering

Don’t underestimate the engineering of a retaining wall. Retaining walls are not just beautiful. They are forms of engineering, and they do require careful planning and execution. If you are not sure of how to do it, make sure that you seek professional help so you won’t bear the consequences.

5. Not Using the Right Materials

Make sure that you use the right materials in your retaining wall. For example, brick, concrete, or stone can all be used to build retaining walls, but they need to be made with rebar mesh and not just stacked up.

If you are using wooden planks or wooden posts, make sure that you use pressure-treated wood to prevent rotting.

6. Not Repairing Collateral Damage

When installing a retaining wall, it is natural to damage the surrounding areas a little. But you can’t walk away from all those damages. For example, make sure that you replace your garden fence, replace your backyard shed if need be, and make sure that you put back all the plants and utilities that you took out to install your wall.

7. Not Fixing Cracks

Retaining walls tend to crack over time. This is a natural process, and you can’t do anything about it. But you need to make sure that you don’t let the cracks get bigger. If you see a crack in your retaining wall, you need to fix it before it gets bigger.

If the retaining wall is cracked, then the soil and plants around it can be jeopardized. The crack can also make the structure appear weak and unstable – and this can further reduce the value of your property.

This is why it is important that you fix cracks quickly. You can do this by putting in metal reinforcements or by filling the cracks with concrete.


Retaining walls are beautiful and very functional structures, but like all types of construction, they do need to be installed correctly. For projects like these, it’s best to let the professionals handle it.

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