oakland retaining walls

4 Basic Types of Retaining Wall

East Bay Hills Homeowners – Learn About Types of Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are a common element in both commercial and residential landscaping in California. Not only do they give you the chance to add some beautiful stonework to your property, but they can prevent soil erosion and control rainwater flow, both of which can save your yard and home foundation from erosion and damage. Here we discuss four basic types of retaining walls in landscaping, and note the differences between them to understand which one may be best for your landscaping project.

Gravity Retaining Walls

A gravity retaining wall uses the sheer weight of its building material to keep soil in place and prevent erosion. Since they are all about weight, they also allow for the most variety of building materials. Dry-stacked stone is a very popular choice for Oakland retaining walls, but other common materials include pavers, bricks, and unmortared stone are also used. Shorter gravity retaining walls might not need any real support, but most walls require at least a small trench to be dug, and some may need a cement footer to keep them in place. Homes on steeply sloped lots in the East Bay Hills would likely need a more robust solution than a gravity retaining wall.

Cantilevered Retaining Wall

A cantilevered retaining wall is sometimes called a reinforced wall due to the steel bars that run through the concrete or masonry that makes up most of its structure. The wall itself is anchored to a foundation that is placed just underground. The wall and the foundation make an “L” shape that is held in place without tipping by the weight of the soil holding them in place. Cantilevered retaining walls tend to be stronger than most other walls, making them popular with commercial businesses.

Sheet Piling Retaining Wall

A sheet piling retaining wall is a thin wall made from steel, wood, or vinyl that is driven directly into the soil. It a very simple wall that you might put up if space is an issue. For example, an East Bay hillside retaining wall might be found in a suburban yard if the owners wanted to maintain a smaller garden. This kind of wall generally only works in softer soil, and larger walls will need additional reinforcement. 

Anchored Retaining Wall

An anchored retaining wall is kept in place by anchors that are driven into the ground mechanically. The anchors are attached to a wall by cables or strips, while the wall itself is a “front” that can be made from a variety of materials. Just about any wall can be made into an anchored retaining wall if it requires extra support, but many walls that are anchored are thinner and resemble sheet piling walls. They are also ideal for any situation where you can expect to deal with higher loads or greater rates of soil erosion.

Oakland, Piedmont and East Bay Hills Retaining Wall Specialists

A retaining wall is an important element of any major landscaping project, and we can help install one that suits your property’s needs. Whether you need a Oakland retaining wall or an Piedmont retaining wall, we can work with you to make sure that you’re happy with your landscaping project. Contact Jim Gardner Construction for more information about our services or call us at (510) 655-3409.

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