12 Different Types of Retaining Walls

Different Types of Retaining Walls
Photo by anaterate

You might need to build a retaining wall on your property for many reasons. And many reasons to do it yourself rather than paying someone else.

There are various types of retaining walls available at home improvement stores, which can confuse the selection process. 

But with the correct information, you can choose the right wall for your project and get it built quickly and cheaply!

Here are different types of retaining walls you may want to consider making on your property and when they should be used.

What is a Retaining Wall?

A retaining wall is a structure that holds back soil or rock from a property. Most commonly, retaining walls are used to prevent soil erosion. Retaining walls can be constructed with various materials, including wood, stone, or concrete.

When Should I Use a Retaining Wall?

A retaining wall should be used whenever a slope on your property is in danger of eroding.

Different Types of Retaining Walls

1. Green Retaining Wall

The first on our list of different types of retaining walls is the Green retaining wall. Green walls are made up of live vegetation grown on a wall.

They are usually used for decorative purposes but can also provide some measure of support, noise reduction, and privacy. 

Green walls can be created using a variety of plants, including creepers, vines, ferns, grasses, and shrubs. When selecting plants for a green wall, choosing those appropriate for the climate and sunlight exposure is essential.

2. Reinforced Earth Retaining Wall

This is one of the different retaining walls made with steel-reinforced, precast concrete panels placed against the soil. They are often used in high-traffic areas where aesthetics are essential, as they can be made to look like stone or brick.

3. Anchored Earth Retaining Wall

This retaining wall is built with large, heavy-duty anchors driven deep into the ground. They’re typically used for very tall walls (20 feet or more) holding back a lot of soil. The downside is that they’re expensive and require special equipment to install.

4. Sheet Pile Retaining Wall

A sheet pile retaining wall is yet one of the different types of retaining walls that are used to hold back soil or water. Sheet piles are driven into the ground and are usually made of steel, wood, or concrete. This type of wall is often used in coastal areas or areas with a lot of water.

5. Mechanical Stabilization Wall

A mechanical stabilization wall is a retaining wall that uses soil reinforcement to increase its stability. This type of wall is often used in areas where the soil is not strong enough to support the weight of the retained material. The reinforcement can be in the form of wire mesh, geogrids, or even plastic netting.

6. Crib Retaining Wall

A crib wall is built from interlocking prefabricated concrete units filled with gravel. They’re quick and easy to install, making them a popular choice for do-it-yourselfers. Crib walls are best suited for small projects where soil erosion isn’t a significant concern.

7. Buttress Retaining Wall

A buttress retaining wall is a solid wall built perpendicular to the slope. It gets its support from the weight of the soil behind it and its weight. This retaining wall is usually used for smaller projects because it is not as strong as some other options.

8. Gravity Retaining Wall

A gravity retaining wall is the most common of all the different types of retaining walls. It is made of concrete, stone, or brick and relies on its weight to hold the soil back.

Gravity walls are typically used for smaller projects because they are not as strong as other types of retaining walls.

9. Cantilever Retaining Wall

A cantilever retaining wall is built using only concrete or masonry units supported at one end. The other end of the unit is free, or cantilevered, out into space. 

Meanwhile, this type of wall gets its stability from a combination of the weight of the units and the soil behind it. Cantilever walls are used for both commercial and residential applications. And can be constructed using various materials, including brick, stone, and concrete.

10. Counterfort Retaining Wall

A counterfort retaining wall is a good choice for areas with a lot of traffic or where the soil is particularly unstable. They’re different retaining walls made by pouring concrete into forms placed perpendicular to the wall. Counterforts are then placed at intervals along the wall to help support it.

11. Diaphragm Retaining Wall

A diaphragm wall is a thick concrete wall constructed in sections. It is typically used in deep excavations, where soil conditions are poor or the water table is high.

Diaphragm walls are also used to create basement levels in buildings. This type of retaining wall is powerful and can be used in situations where other types of retaining walls would fail.

12. Gabion Retaining Wall

A gabion is a wire mesh basket filled with rocks or concrete. They are often used in situations where soil erosion is a problem. Gabions are easy to construct and can be used to create various shapes.


There are different types of retaining walls. Retaining walls can be used to control water runoff, reduce the effects of soil erosion, or simply for aesthetics.

They are a significant part of your landscape because they help with your landscaping and give you a sense of pride in your home’s appearance. The type you need depends on what you want the retaining wall for

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