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Your Guide to Different Retaining Wall Materials

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Retaining walls, besides being excellent landscaping features, play a significant role when it comes to preventing surface runoff as well as soil erosion on your property. These structures, as the name implies, are designed to retain or hold the soil structure firmly, preventing any sudden movement that causes damages due to soil erosion and surface runoff. But different materials can be used in the construction of these structures. The materials differ in their performance, their style, strength, etc. Therefore, understanding the different materials will go a long way in ensuring you select one that works best for your property. And here is a guide to help you.

Concrete Block

Concrete blocks are some of the standard options when it comes to retaining wall materials. They are designed for strength, and modern options are quite easy to install. The concrete blocks are stacked on top of each other and different stacking systems can be used. For instance, you can consider a lip stacking system, which is in the form of a tongue-and-groove, and you only need to interlock the concrete blocks together. A clip or pin stacking system is also common with concrete block retaining walls. This system involves the use of pins or clips (made from materials such as fibreglass and plastic), to anchor concrete blocks together.

Due to their sturdiness, concrete blocks are ideal for heavy rainfall areas and places exposed to dampness and high moisture levels.

Poured Concrete

If you're looking for something more durable than concrete blocks, consider poured concrete instead. And besides being stronger than concrete blocks, poured concrete also comes with more design options. It's ideal if you're also looking for a modern landscape in your home.

Stone and Boulder

Natural stones and boulders are also excellent retaining wall materials to use in your home. They are usually recommended for homeowners looking to create a perfect landscape feature. That's because stones and boulders are natural materials and tend to blend in well with the environment. The variety in colours and different stone shapes means you can achieve a unique and attractive landscape feature with this retaining wall.

One of the most significant advantages of using stones and boulders to build your retaining walls is that you can create higher walls than with concrete blocks and poured concrete. However, this requires high engineering skills, which means it may cost you more.


Wooden or timber walls can be used on gravel beds. They are easy to install because all you need to do is to nail the timber pieces together. However, retaining walls made from timber aren't usually as durable as their counterparts because of their susceptibility to moisture. They also require more maintenance and are vulnerable to insect infestation.