Different Types of Retaining Walls and Their Purposes

A retaining wall is a structure that is designed to keep soil in place to prevent soil erosion. There is a wide range of materials that can be used in building retaining walls. There are also different types of retaining walls. When designing and installing retaining walls, certain factors should be carefully considered.

It is also vital to have proper drainage behind the retaining wall to limit the pressure on the wall’s design. Drainage materials eliminate or reduce hydrostatic pressure and improve the material’s stability behind the retaining wall. A well-designed retaining wall is functional and long-lasting. That’s why it’s important to have a professional install it for you.

Here are the most common types of retaining walls:

Gravity Retaining Wall

This is the most basic and common type of retaining wall. It uses sheer mass and weight to keep the soil in place. Since gravity walls depend mostly on weight, it allows a variety of materials to be used such as pavers, bricks, and stones. The most common is the dry-stacked gravity wall because it’s flexible and does not require a rigid footing.

Sheet Piling Retaining Wall

When space is an issue, people opt for a sheet piling retaining wall. This is made from a thin wall of the sheet, vinyl, or wood that is directly driven to the soil. Most often, they have a vertically corrugated structure that provides additional reinforcement. These retaining walls work well in softer soils. Additional anchoring may be required for larger walls.

Cantilevered Retaining Wall

Cantilevered retaining walls are also known as reinforced retaining walls, they are made from the internal stem of reinforced steel, mortared masonry, or cast-in-place concrete. It is connected to the foundation and holds a significant amount of soil. That’s why it should be carefully engineered. The weight of the soil above holds the slab foundation down preventing the wall from tipping forward.

This type of retaining wall is common in commercial retaining walls due to its strength.

Anchored Retaining Wall

An anchored retaining wall is supported by deep anchors. At the end of the cable, anchors are expanded by injecting pressurized concrete or by mechanical means. This method is used if additional support is needed and is often used when heavier loads are expected or for thinner walls.


As you can see, there are different types of retaining walls. We only listed the most common types to give you an idea of which might work for you. Before deciding on which type of retaining wall you should get, you should carefully plan everything first. If you’re still undecided on which type of retaining wall works best, it is best to consult a professional.

At Brisbane Retaining Walls, we offer a wide range of materials and designs that will suit every need, whether it’s for residential or commercial purposes. We only use premium grade materials when building our retaining walls to guarantee longevity and durability. Our team can offer professional advice if needed. If you have any inquires, contact our team.


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