How do retaining walls work?

Retaining Walls Melbourne

Retaining walls are commonplace enough in suburbia, and we are sure you have seen many of them. They look simple enough on the surface, but there’s a lot going on underground, so to speak, to be sure that they will do their job and keep you, your family and property safe. 

Before you go ahead and put in a retaining wall, let’s make sure you understand how retaining walls work and which one will work for your situation. 

Where do you use retaining walls?

Retaining walls are usually used to stabilise sloping areas of a property. Their primary function is to maintain two different levels of ground for your purposes.

Retaining walls can level out your property for building or gardening and help with erosion. They can also be visually attractive and give you more room to use for the kids to play or entertain in a residential setting. 

Retaining walls are used in many situations, like creating level roads, driveways, house blocks and garden areas. They can help reduce erosion and stop areas from flooding during the heavy downpours in Melbourne. They make lower steep slopes usable and can also protect your yard, driveway, or house from a hill above.

Types of retaining walls

Retaining walls are structures that work hard for you in their fight against gravity and Mother Nature, so you’ll want to know how they work so you can put in the kind that will function best in your situation. There are four basic types of retaining walls. 

Each has a specific situation for which they should be used, as each wall type has different strengths and advantages. 

Retaining Walls Melbourne

Gravity retaining walls

Gravity retaining walls hold the earth in place simply by the size and weight of the wall material. You can use rock, concrete blocks or timber to hold back the soil, but these retaining walls are only suitable for short walls of less than 1 metre. 

Piling retaining walls

Piling retaining walls use piles or poles above and underground to hold the soil back. As they are three-quarters against the soil at all times, they must be made of a strong, rot-resistant material such as hardwood, treated wood, or metal. 

You can use other building materials between the piles, such as concrete or timber sleepers, to hold back the soil.

Cantilevered retaining walls

Cantilevered retaining walls usually have a base that extends back into the hill that the soil sits on, with the weight holding everything in place. These are very strong walls, usually made of cast concrete that is craned into place. 

Anchored retaining walls

Anchored Retaining walls are the strongest type of wall you can create and they have an anchor or arm that extends back into the hill above, providing the strength and stabilisation for steeper slopes or larger volumes of soil.

All retaining walls work by providing a place for the soil to rest against where a slope is present. The barrier or wall must be strong enough to hold a vast quantity of soil and resist the call of gravity and Mother Nature’s constant desire to erode slopes.  

The type of retaining wall you need will depend on the amount of soil you want to hold back, the use of the land above and below and the actual steepness of the slope you are wanting to control.

In all cases, any retaining wall that is higher than a metre will require a building permit under the Earth Retaining Structures standard AS 4678-2002, which deals with the retention of dirt rock and other materials for walls higher than 800mm but less than 15m with an inclination of 70 degrees or more. 

Retaining Walls Melbourne

Call Jamesco Group today for all of your retaining wall needs across Melbourne!

This is when it’s time to call in the experts like Jamesco Group so that you do it once and do it right.

Other things to consider when thinking about retaining walls are:

Retaining walls can be tricky once they get to more than a few feet high. Don’t risk your investment, family or home by “giving it a go”. Give us a call, and let us come out and have a chat with you. Let’s discuss all the retaining wall possibilities that are available to you and your situation. 

Consulting with a professional retaining wall contractor is always a good idea. We live and breathe everything to do with retaining walls all day, every day, and we know what will work to make a durable and good-looking retaining wall for your property. 

Call Jamesco Group today for all of your retaining wall needs across Melbourne!

If you are not sure which retaining wall is right for you, call Jamesco Group today!