There is a range of factors to think about when building and designing retaining walls. It does not matter if it is for commercial or residential use. Depending on your needs, you might wonder what material is ideal for your location, how deep should you bury the wall, and what style of wall fits best for your property.  

The job of a retaining wall is to hold soil. However, the particular needs will greatly depend on the project. A retaining wall could vary from huge soil-retaining projects along a highway or tiny landscaping stone walls to border a garden.  

If you’re planning to install retaining walls, here are some factors to consider: 

Wall Reinforcement 

There are reinforcement methods available for you to use if gravity will not support your wall. The method will depend on soil material, angle, friction, design, height, wall type, and more.  

Some of the most common reinforcement methods are geogrids and steel. These reinforcements are installed in between the layers of retaining wall blocks. Other forms of reinforcement include rock bolts, earth anchors, soil nailing, and much more.  


To start the design, you’ve got to calculate the corresponding slopes, footprint sizes, wall heights, and setback angle. These things are dependent on the grade and elevation of your site. In addition to that, you have to understand that gravity would lead the retained material to move down gradually. You can counteract this with the design of your retaining wall to lower the amount of lateral earth pressure behind it.  

Your wall height depends on the size of the block, setback, slope, and soil. 


You have to evaluate the soil of your site before you install a retaining wall. The reason for this is that it creates the base or foundation of the wall. Make sure the soil meets the required strength to support the wall. Also, you should figure out the friction angle, stress parameters, bearing capacity, and type of soil. 


When selecting a location for the retaining wall, you’ve got to ensure you have a detailed knowledge of property lines. You should also consider both underground and above-ground utilities. This includes irrigation, stormwater management systems, phone lines, and more.  

Here are some other factors to think about when it comes to choosing a location for your retaining wall: 

  • Surcharge Loads 

Would there be extra vertical weight or forces above the wall such as pools, driveways, parking lots, fencing, or guardrails? You should also consider temporary construction machineries.  

  • Property Boundary 

Will the reinforcement system cross the property line if your wall is along the property boundary? 

  • Drainage Patterns 

A retaining wall can obstruct the natural drainage patterns of your property. This depends on the size of the wall. If this is the case, it can have environmental consequences during heavy storms.  

  • Excess Soil 

Where will you store the excess soil if you are installing the retaining walls into a hillside? Will you use the soil for other purposes? Do you have to throw it away? 

  • Slope 

Where will you store the additional infill that you need if your wall is on a slope?