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Are Gravity Retaining Walls the Best Way to Hold Back Garden Slopes?

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If you have a sloped garden, then you may have decided to install retaining walls. These walls should hold the soil in place on the slopes and stop it from slipping down. They can also create more space in your garden.

You have a few different options here depending on the make-up of your slopes and your design preferences. Gravity retaining walls are a popular solution if you need to manage slopes. How do these walls work, and will they work in your garden?

How Gravity Retaining Walls Work

Gravity retaining walls are made from strong and sturdy materials like concrete or rocks. These walls use the weight of their construction materials to hold slopes in place. So, the wall creates a solid barrier in front of the sloped area. The soil that backs on to the wall also helps hold the rest of the slope in place.

As well as using strong materials, gravity retaining walls build extra strength and stability into their design and placement. This is known as battering. When a gravity wall has battering, it has a thicker base at the bottom of the wall. The wall then reduces in size towards the top. The wall also leans slightly backwards rather than standing completely straight. This lean gives it extra holding power. It forces back the soil behind the wall and makes it harder for the soil to slide forward onto the top of the wall.

This design gives the wall a lot more stability than a uniformly sized and straight-standing structure. Rather than just creating a barrier in front of soil, a gravity wall actively holds soil back without needing extra reinforcement.

How to Decide Whether to Use a Gravity Wall

The size and scope of your slope dictate what kind of retaining wall you use. Gravity walls are often recommended for small- or medium-sized slopes. These walls are strong enough to effectively hold these slopes in place.

However, gravity retaining walls will not work on every slope. For example, they may not be a long-term holding solution for very tall or high slopes unless they are reinforced with extra support like cantilevers or piles.

To find out if a gravity wall is the best way to control the slopes in your garden, call out local retaining wall contractors. They can assess if gravity walls will work for you and, if not, suggest alternative solutions.