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What Are Retaining Walls?

As beautiful as they are, let’s take your retaining wall style to new levels of interest and refinement.

A retaining wall is crucial in preventing soil erosion, providing stability to landscapes, and allowing for the development of various types of infrastructure. They can vary in size and complexity, from small garden walls to large-scale structures and landscaping projects. This is important because proper design and construction are essential to ensure safety and effectiveness.

For long-lasting performance, they are constructed with solid materials, including concrete, timber, stone, and brick. Many home and business owners in the Coastal Carolinas will find that newly developed land can often be steeply sloped, but even land that has been left undeveloped can slope in various places.

Since tropical storms and hurricanes are common in this location, new construction is often built on higher-leveled ground, and the slopes are left to help drain water and prevent flooding, washing away your backyard.

If you have a slope on your property, you will want to hire a professional hardscape designer near you to build one. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a big mess. Here is a guide to help you along.

What Do Retaining Walls Do?

These stunning hardscape structures are not only gorgeous but they also serve various purposes, including:

  • Erosion Control: One of their primary functions is to prevent soil erosion on slopes. By holding back soil and controlling water runoff, they help maintain the stability of the land.
  • Leveling Terrain: When your land needs to be level, this wall will create flat or terraced areas on a sloping landscape, making building structures or gardens on uneven ground possible.
  • Structural Support: Retaining walls supports structures and roads by preventing soil movement and minimizing the risk of landslides or collapses.
  • Aesthetic Enhancement: In landscaping, retaining walls can add visual appeal to outdoor spaces. They can be designed with various materials and styles to complement the overall look of a property.
  • Water Management: Retaining walls can also be used in water management systems to control water flow, create ponds, or support drainage structures.

What are the Different Types of Retaining Walls?

There are several types of retaining walls. One common type is the gravity retaining wall. They basically rely on sheer weight to hold back soil and other materials. Created with stone, they come in various shapes and sizes.

Another popular type is the cantilevered retaining wall. It uses a base slab and a thin vertical stem to resist the pressure of the soil. You use this for taller structures or in areas with soft soils. If you live in Myrtle Beach or the surrounding areas and want to know what type of soil you have, read this article from the Regulatory Services Soil Codes.

Other types include:

  • Anchored
  • Counterfort
  • Sheet pile

Each one has its specific designs and purposes. Before deciding, assess your project’s needs before choosing the one that best suits you. Don’t forget to factor in soil conditions, space limitations, and budget, all of which should be considered when making this decision.

Consult with a professional landscaping engineer to ensure proper techniques are used, and the structure will be safe and effective for its purpose.


It’s also important to regularly maintain and inspect your retaining wall to ensure its stability. This can include checking for any cracks or signs of erosion, ensuring proper drainage to prevent water buildup, and addressing any potential issues promptly. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your retaining wall remains safe and effective over time.


With the variety of materials and designs available, retaining walls can certainly be a beautiful addition to any landscape. From natural stone to decorative concrete blocks, there are endless options for creating a visually appealing retaining wall that complements your surrounding environment. Now you know what a retaining wall is, its purpose, and the types available. Indeed, this will start you on a”path” to a new hardscaped wall.

If you live in Horry or Brunswick Counties, call Elite Coastal Landscaping and Outdoors. Our team has over 35 years of experience.