Basic retaining walls consist of a wall of bricks which are stacked at an angle against a mound of dirt.
While it may appear that the wall is holding back enormous amounts of weight, they are actually holding relatively little.
To build a strong retaining wall you build it at a slight slant, regardless of the design. Whether you have a tiered or curved wall, the fundamentals are the same.
Learn more in our retaining wall guide.
Right now, let’s stir your creative juices with some retaining wall pictures and ideas. And if you would like to gain instant access to the freshest landscaping ideas & videos that are sure to spice up your backyard, click here!
Stair Well Retaining Walls
Retaining walls can be built as a border for a small stair rail.
They are usually built out of the same material that the stairs are made of. Stair well retaining walls allow users to pass through a mound of dirt in a comfortable way.
It is even possible to install lights on the sides of the stairs directly into the wall itself. This type of project requires some advanced knowledge of stair design and masonry, but it sure does make for an elegant looking entry point to a home.
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Multi-Tiered Retaining Walls
Of all the retaining wall ideas out there, the multi-tiered ones are the most imposing. This idea requires that an excessively tall mound of dirt be present.
Two different tiers of wall are installed on the side of the mound, one at ground level and another starting at the top of the bottom wall.
The second tier jogs back several feet behind the lower one. As shown in the picture, small seats or garden beds can be incorporated into the bottom wall. Leave this project to the professionals.
Flush Retaining Wall
This is your run-of-the-mill retaining wall, consisting of stacked bricks which form a smooth surface from top to bottom.
These are the easiest walls to build and do not require a very tall dirt mound to look good. The incline of the bricks can be made easily by using special retaining wall blocks.
Each block has a tab on the bottom which sets the spacing perfectly, locking the top layer onto the one underneath it. Also, these bricks are the cheapest around and have no complex designs.
Many colors are available.
Flanged Retaining Wall
This is exactly the same as a flush wall except it has large bricks at the top.
The large bricks at the highest level create a flange which is purely for decoration. For an interesting look, use different colored bricks for the base and top layer.
A flanged top layer can be effective at containing plants if used as a garden bed retainer.
These walls are poured from solid concrete.
A wooden form is first built onto a foundation, followed by the pouring of freshly mixed concrete.
Users have the option of coating the exterior in textured stucco or applying retaining wall stones to the top.
Concrete makes for a great retaining wall material, but water can easily build up behind the wall. Ensure that a good drainage system has been put into place.
Some walls are built to serve as a comfortable sitting spot.
They are built low to the ground and have a wide, flat top surface built of thin and flat pavers.
Building such a wall around a yard is a great way to provide permanent and convenient seating.
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