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How to build a retaining wall in the country, types of retaining walls

How to build a retaining wall in the country, types of retaining walls


"Anthem" retaining wall

Probably, none of the elements of garden design conceals so many possibilities in arranging and changing space as retaining walls, which have their main purpose - to support the soil on the slope.

Retaining walls are capable of enlivening a boring flat area beyond recognition, emphasizing the landscape beauty of natural "inconveniences".

As a rule, retaining walls are used to create a patio space that is hidden from prying eyes by a fence, hedge and, of course, a retaining wall. The patio level is often deliberately flooded.

When dealing with a specific site, it is very important to observe the proportionality of the retaining wall, garden, and yard - the wall should not dominate the general landscape of the site and, if the size of the site and the house allows, it is possible to create a single terrace on a steep slope using a high retaining wall. But it is possible to form a system of terraces on the slope with several retaining walls, originally interconnected by complex transitions, stairs, intriguingly changing their direction.

Fragments of an alpine slide will fit well into this composition, but you can go the other way, creating small offices from a hedge on the terraces. Perhaps, if performed successfully, such a composition will bring you associations with the romantic gardens of the Renaissance.

If, nevertheless, the choice is stopped on the first option (a sufficiently high retaining wall with one terrace), the owner of the site or the designer will have to solve a more difficult task, because the retaining wall will in any case be an accent in the garden, and this emphasis should be justified by the original idea and style harmony all components of the composition.

The traditional solution is a wall pond with a waterfall. A large arch in the retaining wall with flowering shrubs growing in it will look very pompous. The composition of the built-in artistic lattice in the arch of the retaining wall with a running stream can be very picturesque. But you can go further and make a retaining wall in the form of a mountain range with a mysterious entrance to the crevice, entwined with vines, hinting at the hidden treasures of Ali Baba.

The most common solution - when the retaining wall is the background for the barbecue fireplace - after such fantasies will seem boring, but it has a chance to be chosen by the kebab lovers. In any case, the more non-standard the solution, the more you will feel the charm of the novelty and originality of the surrounding atmosphere of the garden.

The colonnade, adjacent to the retaining wall and serving as a gazebo for tea drinking, can act as a non-standard accent. Imagine the roof of a colonnade with cereals growing on it merging with the terrace of the retaining wall! In this case, the texture and geometry of the stone, the size of the plants, the historical style and, finally, the proportions of the entire structure must be carefully verified.

As a rule, gardeners avoid creating such significant retaining walls on their own, preferring the arrangement of walls that are a fence for flower beds no more than 60 cm high.

If the soil level rises along the road from the gate to the door of the house, then retaining walls perpendicular to the path and made in the form of a fence for flower beds are a favorite technique of gardeners.

Sometimes designers organize complex systems of retaining walls, flower beds, stairs and paths, creating amazing transitions from one terrace to another, gradually moving towards the house. If the path to the house is perpendicular to the slope, then the retaining wall is erected along the edge of the path from the side of the slope and repeats all the bends of the path. Moreover, its height can be variable.

On the "inconveniences", which are a treasure trove for designers, it is quite possible to build whole labyrinths of retaining walls, which can function here as bridges and paths. Here it is best to use natural stone, bonded with mortar. Ruin-like masonry in the thickets of plants of this strip will remind you of the currently fashionable nature garden style. Such a corner can be arranged in any garden.

When choosing a material for a retaining wall, it is necessary to take into account the strength of the material and the stylistic significance of the object.

For example, when building an alpine slide, when pockets for planting plants are created using retaining walls, it is natural to choose natural stone with beautiful large chips. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure the engineering strength of the rock garden wall.

For a low, country-style retaining wall, cement-bonded pebbles are suitable; broken slate looks noble in low ruin-like walls, among thickets of erect flowers, such as foxglove. Higher walls from one and a half to 2.5 m are made of coarse sandstone or terracotta bricks. The main thing is that the material goes well with the main buildings.

A strong aesthetic element of the garden, the retaining wall is at the same time an engineering structure. When starting its construction, it is necessary, first of all, to provide drainage - after all, the weight of the soil behind the wall increases as moisture accumulates in it. Therefore, it is necessary to leave gaps of a quarter of a brick in the wall during masonry, or insert PVC pipes with a diameter of at least 40 mm into the masonry.

With high humidity in the area, it is necessary to build absorption wells: the space between the wall and the steep slope is filled with hard crushed material (broken bricks, stones, gravel). Large pieces are stacked first, and drain pipes are inserted at regular intervals into the lowest row.

The strength of the wall is determined by the strength of its adhesion to the foundation and the quality of the mortar. The most durable types of masonry for retaining walls are Flemish, English and English garden masonry.

Of course, facing bricks are best suited for the construction of retaining walls. Bricks that are placed below ground level must be frost-resistant or of increased strength, and the construction of formwork will prevent the earthen slope from collapsing onto fresh, just laid out masonry.

Natural stone, brick, wood - not the whole range of materials: you can lay out interesting inclusions from ceramics, shells, pebbles.

A small wall - up to one meter - can be erected without a binder solution, using the dry masonry method. Such a wall is more environmentally friendly, because built from natural materials. If ornamental plants are planted in the cracks between the stones, it will become a real decoration of the garden.

N. Ivanova, biologist


Types of retaining walls

Retaining wall made of stones

Different stones are used for construction, both natural boulders of any shape, and blocks of sandstone or gneiss of the correct geometric shape. Stacking stones of the same height in even horizontal rows is used in gardens decorated in a regular style.

Low walls are laid in a "dry" way. The first row must be buried at least halfway into the soil, the subsequent stones are simply placed in a checkerboard pattern on the lower ones so that they lie steadily. To give special strength, the retaining walls made of stone are fastened with cement mortar. When laying stone for a high wall on a slope, it is recommended to equip high-quality drainage and a reliable foundation.

A stone wall is considered universal, and therefore suitable for decorating any garden, regardless of the chosen style of landscape design. When choosing a material, pay attention to the shade of the stone. Walls made of large boulders or large pieces of rock always have open spaces and pockets. Soil is poured into these spaces, and special unpretentious varieties of flowering plants are planted.

Wooden retaining wall

The wooden retaining wall is constructed from logs or beams. Logs can be installed horizontally along their entire length if they are of the same size. Logs of different length and thickness, the trunks of sawn trees are cut into pieces and installed vertically.

In any case, the logs are reliably fastened with reinforcement, jumpers, since poor-quality fastening threatens not only the destruction of the wall - a log rolling down a slope is a serious danger to humans.

A wooden retaining wall will not last long, especially in warm and humid climates. It is less durable than stone, since wood is prone to decay. Its construction will be cheaper in cost, but it will also last less, even if the material is properly processed to protect it from moisture.

Brick retaining wall

The most common material for a retaining wall is brick. It is affordable, often leftovers from the construction of a house are used. A brick retaining wall is stronger than a wooden one. The masonry successfully withstands heavy loads.

For a low, up to half a meter, walls, masonry in half a brick is enough, if the height is greater, then the thickness should be appropriate. They build it on a foundation, the technology of laying a brick wall is the same as in conventional construction. Drainage and a rainwater drainage system are also needed, since brick breaks down faster in high humidity.

Outwardly, such a structure looks like an ordinary brick wall. But do not forget about modern facing materials that allow you to give ordinary brickwork almost any appearance. Stone-look tiles can easily turn a brick retaining wall into stone.

Retaining wall made of gabions

Modern technologies of gabion retaining walls are increasingly used in landscape design. Gabion is a strong shell made of metal rods or mesh, filled with stones of the same or different sizes.

The gabion retaining wall is very strong, it is able to hold large masses of soil. The stones do not need to be fastened with a solution; such a block is connected into a single whole by a grid. The blocks are firmly tied together.

The advantages of such a wall are that a foundation is usually not required under it, it is laid quickly, and the cost is low due to the fact that the stones inside can be practically anything.

Concrete retaining wall

Concrete retaining walls are usually built on difficult and hazardous slopes. The strength and durability of concrete ensures the reliability of such structures. It is possible to pour a low concrete wall on your own, having made a preliminary drainage cushion, foundation and formwork. The appearance of a concrete wall is usually somewhat boring, so cladding materials are used for decoration.

Design features

Since the walls represent engineering structures, certain rules should be followed for their design, which relate to the following categories: foundation, dimensions and proportions, auxiliary elements.

Regardless of the type of walls, they must necessarily have a foundation. This is necessary, first of all, to create a stable base that prevents the walls from self-destruction under the influence of a combination of factors. Also, the foundation will additionally restrain the soil.

If the foundation will not be equipped, it is required instead to create a wall structure that will restrain the fertile soil layer, especially when it comes to multi-level terracing. In this case, not a separate foundation will be created, but a deepened part of the wall, expanded at the base. It will serve the same function. In this case, it will be necessary to deepen the wall by at least a third of its height, respectively, at a height of 90 cm, the underground part will be 30 cm. The width of the lower part should be twice the upper one.

The walls must contain drainage elements. If desired, lighting elements can also be introduced into the design, which will illuminate the site at twilight.

Retaining wall landscaping

In order for the retaining wall to look organically on the site, it is important to properly decorate it with plants. A low brick wall or a wall lined with identical stone blocks can go well with a neat green lawn. It will fit well with the style of a regular garden.

In all other cases, the task of selecting and planting plants is much more difficult. Designers recommend giving up tall shrubs and trees - this makes the composition heavy. Climbing and ground cover plants are more suitable for retaining wall landscaping.

Honeysuckle, climbing roses, clematis, maiden grapes, planted at the foot, braid the walls with their shoots, giving them natural naturalness. Fortune's spindle tree, cotoneaster can be planted at the top of the wall. Their creeping shoots decorate both the slope and the wall itself well.

Of the perennial ground covers, spherical phlox, periwinkle, and heuchera are most often used. Unpretentious plants that can withstand drought are planted in the spaces between stones or specially made pockets.

If you choose the right colors of plants for the support wall, then the composition on the wall will look beautiful and harmonious. Flowers look great in a combination of white and light pink shades, to which you can add blue or purple plants. Wormwood with silvery leaves will add a certain charm to the composition.

Retaining wall designs are brighter when combined with yellow or purple colors with white colors. When planting plants, you must also take into account the location of the wall. If it is in a sunny place, then you can plant alissum, arabis, obrieta, yaskolka on it. A carnation of various colors will feel cozy here. You can plant phlox, creeping gypsophila or alpine cuff here.

All of these plant species tolerate drought quite well. They are unpretentious to care for. If the wall is in a dark place, then low ferns and garden geraniums will take root on it. Also, dwarf mountain bells will grow well under these conditions.

You can plant rare plant species on the wall, such as ramona, soldanella or haberlei. These types of plants do not tolerate stagnant water, and in nature they live on steep rocks. You can beautifully arrange not only the retaining walls on the site, but also the space around it by planting small barberry or coniferous shrubs. Shrubs should be selected taking into account the type of plants. Different types of plants should not be in harmony with each other.

The planted plants for the retaining walls will quickly master the space, and you will get a beautiful corner that does not require special care. It will delight the eye for years to come. During drought, the plants will need to be watered periodically. They should also be fed with mineral fertilizers, but this should be done no more than three times per season.


Retaining wall calculation

Before making a retaining wall, you need to carefully calculate all the nuances. Otherwise, negligence and incorrect calculation can lead to the collapse of the wall.

Such walls are tall no more than 1.6 metersperhaps build with your own hands. For the width of the sole, a factor of 0.6-0.8 multiplied by the height of the wall is used.You can find out the ratio of the size of the wall to its height, taking into account the type of soil:

  • soft soil - 1: 2
  • medium soil - 1: 3
  • dense soil - 1: 4.

If the height is large and the structure is planned on weak soil, then it is advisable to turn to the services of professionals. Calculations will be made in accordance with the rules of SNiP.

In this case, many factors are taken into account and on this basis there will be the following calculations were performed:

  • structural strength, crack resistance
  • soil strength, its probable deformation
  • durability of the position of the wall itself.

Also, calculations are performed for seismic, active and passive ground pressure, groundwater pressure, adhesion, etc. The calculation is made taking into account the maximum loads and covers the repair, construction and operational periods of the wall.

Naturally, you can also use an online calculator that is specially designed for these purposes. But it should be borne in mind that these calculations are only advisory in nature.

Drainage system

The drainage and drainage device needs special attention. The system provides collection and removal of storm water, melt and ground water, thereby preventing erosion and flooding of the structure. It can be transverse, longitudinal or combined.

The transverse option implies the presence of holes diameter 10 cm one meter of the wall.

Longitudinal drainage involves placing a pipe on a foundation along the entire length of the wall.

Retaining walls have a very important function. It is best to entrust their construction to professionals, or at least consult with them on this issue. Even a small mistake in the calculation of the retaining wall can have rather disastrous consequences.


Retaining wall structures and construction methods

Site arrangement

The main task of the retaining wall is to keep the soil on the slope. But this is a general purpose, there are several signs that underlie the classification of the types of this structure.

  1. Types of retaining walls
  2. By appointment
  3. Based on materials
  4. By design
  5. By way of ensuring sustainability
  6. General guidelines for DIY construction
  7. Retaining wall construction
  8. From monolithic reinforced concrete
  9. Precast concrete
  10. Of stone and building blocks
  11. Made of wood

We decorate the retaining wall with plants

To create a more natural, natural look, add flower crops at different locations on the wall. Rough stone will automatically have large enough clearances for placing in the soil and planting. If you are using cut stone, plan for gaps when building the wall. They should not be large and should not violate the integrity of the wall. Cascading plants such as creeping thyme, perennial yellow Alyssum look very attractive, creeping along the sides of the stone walls. Ornamental grasses and some succulent species also grow well on or near stone walls.


How to make a retaining wall. PHOTO

Good afternoon, dear readers!

I was prompted to write this article by our site, on which we built our house. It is very complex, has a triangular shape, multi-level and has a descent to the lake, which borders the site. Since when planning the placement of the house on the site, one of the corners of the house fell on the border of the descent to the lake, it was decided to erect a retaining wall. Today I plan to talk about how to make a retaining wall.

Firstly, what I want to say about retaining walls is that they are a very complex structure, of course, if we are really talking about retaining walls, and not about a parody in the form of a wall 20 cm high. This structure must be calculated so that one day your slope does not crawl away. When erecting my retaining wall, unfortunately, I did not do the calculations yet, I did not find a program for this at that time, and I didn't really want to sit with a textbook, studying formulas. I chose the option for myself retaining wall made of monolithic reinforced concrete.

I made it with a large margin of safety, as a result - a large waste of material. Our retaining wall is 12 meters long and T-shaped. How it was erected - the entire fertile layer was previously removed, geotextiles were laid, a cushion of rubble 15-20 cm thick, fraction 5-20 mm, was rammed. Then the heel-base of the retaining wall with dimensions 80cm wide and 30cm high is poured, after having made reinforcement, the concrete used the factory grade M200. Then a vertical wall 25cm thick and 1m70cm high was poured onto this structure. I did not take pictures of the process of building the retaining wall, this is what I could find. Here she still had an unfinished look.

It was already poured by hand, using a movable formwork made of shields, in the vertical part of the wall I made inserts from a 50mm pipe to drain water that could accumulate along the wall. The leisurely work took a couple of months in the summer, strengthened the arms and back and saved the family budget. I did everything from start to finish myself. At the moment, the retaining wall is without cracks, the upper part of 30 cm was specially left not filled, because with Lyubimaya we are planning to make something resembling a fence along this wall, as on the embankment, because from this place a view of our lake opens and in this place we have an open terrace.

For the reinforcement diagram, see this manual.

For those who plan to build a retaining wall on their site and do not want to rely on chance, I offer a program for calculating retaining walls in Excel. In the lines highlighted in green, enter your desired parameters and see if your retaining wall passes all the indicated loads. You can download this program at this link.

And now I want to move a little from the description of my construction site, and talk about what other retaining walls are.

Materials for the construction of a retaining wall can be materials such as:

1. Wood (log retaining walls), as an example larch retaining wall.

2. Also for the construction of low retaining walls, can be used rubble concrete ... Retaining walls made of rubble concrete, as a rule, are mounted using formwork.

3. The material for the retaining wall can be natural stone ... Walls made of natural stone are erected with or without cement mortar (dry). Most often, sawn or chipped stone of solid rocks (quartzite, gabbro, basalt, granite, diabase) is used. The masonry stones of the retaining walls should be as correct as possible. The ligation of the seams should be at least 10 cm, and for corner stones - at least 15 cm. The structure of the wall resembles a rubble concrete wall, however, the masonry is carried out without formwork, which allows the wall to be given various original forms.

A retaining wall is not just a wall, but a harmonious structure that can decorate your site, and I will try to convince you of this. In skillful hands, a multi-level plot can become not a disadvantage, but a huge advantage. Retaining walls can serve as a decorative element on the site, and bear a direct functional responsibility, but at the same time its design and appearance can be very aesthetic, delighting not only you, but everyone around you.

Now let's talk about the decorative side of our building. Tatiana is in touch, hello!

It is better to refuse from excessively high and too long walls - no matter how you decorate them later, there will still be a feeling of heaviness. If, nevertheless, you cannot do without a long wall, try to "break" it with other architectural elements - benches, stairs, niches.

Plants will help to bring beauty and revitalize the retaining wall. They can be planted on earthen "steps" of the retaining wall and possibly between stones (bricks) if the retaining wall was installed as dry masonry.

Plants for the retaining wall.

When planting, it is imperative to take into account the color, habit and, of course, the timing of flowering. All this is necessary so that the retaining wall looks gorgeous throughout the entire period. In the upper part of the retaining wall, plants may experience a shortage of water, so you can plant chickweed, Iberis there. These species are drought tolerant. And at the foot you can land water lovers: fern, toadflax, bells. You can also plant saxifrage, styloid phlox, periwinkle, aubrieta, pinnate cloves, arabis, sage, alissum, broom, thyme, Indian dusheney, etc. This is not the whole list of plants that will feel great on a retaining wall. You can also plant cotoneaster, juniper, catnip on the slopes of the wall. Choose plants for your alpine slide.

Conifers perfectly coexist with a retaining wall made of stone.

Below I will give examples of the design of the site, or rather the design of retaining walls, which harmoniously fit into the landscape of the site.

The patio area, we will take note of this project, this is exactly what we wanted to do on our descent to the lake.

I hope you liked these examples of the design of a section with retaining walls and you have taken note of that.


↑ Types of retaining walls

In agriculture and industrial construction, a retaining wall is mainly regarded as an engineering structure. In addition, the walls are erected when laying paths in park areas, when arranging views, sports and playgrounds. Retaining walls often create relief illusions: with their help, they emphasize the height difference existing on the site. Retaining walls, depending on the task to be performed, are subdivided into fortifying and decorative structures.
Regardless of the purpose of the retaining wall, it is built from four parts:

  1. The foundation is part of a wall underground.
  2. The body is part of the supporting structure above the ground.
  3. Drainage.
  4. Drainage, they are needed to increase the strength of the retaining structure.

The classification of the types of reinforcing walls is carried out according to the criteria, which we will consider later in the article.

↑ By appointment

There are three types of retaining walls for their intended purpose:

  1. Reinforcing wall: used in industrial areas, in residential buildings, along roads and engineering structures.
  2. Facilities for terracing agricultural land.
  3. Decorative retaining structures - as an element for zoning the territory on slopes with a slight slope.

When a private estate with a plot of land is located on a slope, the retaining wall usually simultaneously performs the functions of strengthening, zoning and decoration. For the construction of the structure, the material is selected taking into account the load, decorative properties and operating conditions. Although it is quite difficult to combine all the appointments in one wall.

↑ Based on materials

It is difficult to combine aesthetics and high bearing capacity in one structure. And when the retaining wall belongs to the central detail of landscape design, then it is important to find a compromise solution. For example, if you need to equip a high wall, then it is worth breaking the height into two or three cascading terraces with supporting structures made of building material, which most closely matches the landscape style of a private courtyard or summer cottage.

Designers identify the following types of materials for the construction of a structure:

  1. Monolithic reinforced concrete with high load-bearing characteristics, provided that a strong foundation is erected. The design will last for a long time, from fifty years or more. Of the minuses, they note costs (money and time), high labor intensity, and the need for decorative finishing.
  2. Precast concrete. The bearing characteristics are lower than those of the monolith, but the construction speed is higher. Cash investments and auxiliary workers will be required during the construction. For the erected structure, you will need decorative design.
  3. Natural stone. A stone structure can last for fifty years or more. A reinforced foundation is required for the stone. To lay out each row, you will have to select each stone in size and shape. Of the minuses, the duration of the work is noted. And plus - high aesthetic characteristics.
  4. Gabions. The structure has medium bearing capacities, therefore gabions are used for low retaining walls. When erecting a powerful foundation, you will not need it: small shifts and subsidence of the soil are well tolerated by the elastic mesh of the gabion. Drainage is not necessary when using this material, since the wall structure has excellent water permeability. Among the disadvantages is the germination of weeds and soil suffusion. The long service life depends on the quality of the mesh, but not less than fifty years. Plus - quick installation of the gabion without the use of special equipment. Minus - the gabion is not suitable for every style of landscape design because of its specific appearance.
  5. Building blocks. The load-bearing capacity is low, especially for lateral loads. You will need to build a foundation. It is undesirable to use silicate brick, and waterproofing from the soil side is required for a ceramic brick structure. The advantage of the blocks is the speed of installation.
  6. Wood. For the retaining wall, a bar, logs, sleepers, blocks are used, which are treated with an antiseptic. Pros: you can use a pile base, installation is quick and easy, high decorative effect (if there are timber buildings on the site). Cons - the bearing capacity is low, the retaining wall made of wood is short-lived.
  7. Profiled sheet. For the arrangement of retaining walls, they began to be used not so long ago. The material is used for low buildings. Usually mounted on a screw base. The strength and stability of the structure depends on the type of profile and thickness of the metal, and the service life depends on the type and thickness of the coating. Pros - high speed and ease of installation.

↑ By the type of retaining wall

There are such options for the construction of retaining structures:

  1. In height: up to one meter - low, from one to two meters - medium, from two meters and above - high.
  2. By the size of the foundation: deeply laid (the depth of the base of the base is one and a half times greater than the wall thickness), shallowly laid foundation.
  3. By placement on the site: freestanding retaining walls or associated with other erected structures.

↑ By the way of sustainability

The following forces act on the retaining wall:

  • the actual weight of the wall
  • the mass of earth that was poured onto the ledge (console) of the foundation
  • adhesion forces of soil and foundation
  • lateral soil pressure on the retaining wall.

And if the lateral pressure tends to overturn and move the wall, then the rest of the forces just provide the stability of the retaining structure.

The stability of the structure is determined by the following options:

  1. Due to the weight of the wall, shear stability can be achieved.
  2. By using the weight of the wall and the weight of the earth that is placed on the base console, displacement resistance is also achieved.
  3. Shear stability is also achieved due to the reliable fixation of the foundation in the bedrock.
  4. If the weight of the wall is negligible, then stability can be achieved at the expense of the mass of the earth.


Watch the video: How to Build a Small Retaining Wall in One Day by Yourself. Cheap Basic Retaining Wall