What is a retaining wall?
Retaining walls are engineering structures constructed to withhold soil materials or withstand lateral pressure. Materials such as sand, earth filling, and liquid are held behind a retaining wall. Retaining wall structures come in various types to achieve different purposes.
Types of retaining walls
There are four basic types, namely: Gravity, Cantilevered, Sheet Piling, and Anchored.
Retaining walls are widely used in residential and commercial landscaping due to lots of reasons. Firstly, they provide a platform to beautify the area with stonework and allow landscape transformation, such as the use of flowerbeds or gardens.
Another important and widespread use of retaining walls is to protect a yard from soil erosion and manage the flow of rainwater. Below are the essential features of the four common types of retaining walls.
Gravity Retaining Wall
The gravity retaining walls are commonly used for holding soil in place. It makes use of lots of weight and mass to work effectively. Some of the materials used for gravity retaining walls include bricks, unmortared stone, pavers, and dry-stacked stone.
The most popular choice is the dry-stacked stone. While you don’t need extra reinforcements for shorter walls, you may still need to dig a small hole for the wall to fit appropriately. In some case, you may need to add concrete at the base for your wall to seat in well.
Cantilevered/Reinforced Retaining Wall
A cantilevered retaining wall is a reinforced type of retaining wall structure which comprises a steel bar running through the concrete retaining wall. The retaining walls are fitted on a well-constructed slab foundation, thereby forming an “L” shape. The slab is tightly held in place by the weight of the soil above which keeps it from tipping forward.
Engineers favour this style while constructing commercial retaining walls because of its strength.
Sheet Piling Retaining Wall
The sheet piling style of retaining wall structure is preferred when there is limited space. This retaining wall comprises a thin wall of steel, wood, or vinyl driven straight into the soil.
Sheet piling retaining walls usually comprise a vertically corrugated structure to add extra reinforcement. These pilings often work in softer soils, and ideally, you should drive one-third of the sheet piling into the ground while the remaining two-thirds that will be above. For more massive walls, you will need another retaining wall known as an anchored retaining wall. Read further to learn more about anchored retaining walls.
Anchored Retaining Wall
As earlier discussed, anchored retaining walls are ideal for more massive walls. It comprises various types of retaining walls supported by anchors driven into the soil behind them and fastened by strips or cables.
Usually, these anchors are fixed to the ground with their tip expanded with pressurised concrete or via a mechanical method. This method helps to provide the needed extra support for the options listed above and also for thinner walls or in areas where one expects a higher load.
Constructing retaining walls in Melbourne is more comfortable now that you know the common types of retaining walls and their various uses. Use this knowledge to your advantage by making the right decisions.
However, it would be best if you had retaining wall specialists to help construct your retaining walls. If you reside around Melbourne, you will find retaining wall experts in Melbourne for your landscaping needs.