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How High Should My Retaining Wall Be?

Posted on: November 16, 2015

Retaining walls, while can be beautiful additions to your landscape, are most often installed out of necessity. There are many factors to consider when installing a new retaining wall, and the professionals at Four Seasons Landscaping are here to help you make the right decisions.

So how high should your wall be? Generally, between 3 – 4 feet high. But, there are different factors to take into consideration, including the material you use for your wall, the landscaping, and purpose. Keep reading to find out the specifics you need to know!

Four Seasons has been providing unique landscape designs and solutions for more than ten years to our wonderful Maryland patrons. In that time, we’ve made it our mission to only ever provide the very best, and when it comes to retaining walls, we know all there is to know!

What Exactly Is a Retaining Wall?

Put simply, a retaining wall is installed to hold back soil (occasionally water). They can be constructed of a variety of materials, including cut stone, wood, brick and even natural stone, giving the homeowner a lot of variety in aesthetics. These structures are most often created to add a tiered effect to landscape, holding soil back from spilling over into a yard, and are most commonly seen in homes with a dramatic incline in the yard.

There are four common types of retaining wall, including:

  • Gravity walls. These essentially hold back the soil by their own weight, with no special anchors or designs to aid in soil retention. Gravity walls are often used in residential property.
  • Cantilevered. Cantilevered retaining walls use a structurally reinforced “footing” to improve load retention, and to reinforce them against extreme force. Cantilevered walls often make use of ‘buttresses’ to further improve integrity.
  • Piled. These walls are usually constructed from steel, or wood plank set into the soil at 1/3 of their total height. Piled walls are particularly beneficial to tight spaces.
  • Anchored. More of a supplement than a unique design, anchors can apply to all other types of retaining wall, and simply denote the use of cable anchors to reinforce the wall.

How High Should My Retaining Wall Be?

There are a number of factors that come into play to dictate the height of your retaining walls. On average, most retaining walls are between three and four feet high. This is optimal because it doesn’t require any anchors, or expensive engineering methods, though in some cases the wall must be higher. Variables that affect the height of your wall include:

  • Extreme heights. Your wall requires a measure of clearance over the soil to ensure structural integrity. In most cases this will not exceed the 3-4 foot standard, but for some landscapes, it may.
  • Unique designs. You can readily find retaining walls exceeding even six feet in residential properties. These walls must be engineered specially, and often require a number of unusual considerations.

Professionally Installed Retaining Walls with Four Seasons Landscaping

Still a little unclear on how high your retaining wall needs to be? No problem! The experts at Four Seasons are here to assist with your every landscaping need. Contact us today to learn more about how our professionally installed retaining walls can help you create the landscape of your dreams.


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