What is a Retaining Wall?

texas retaining walls

A retaining wall is a wall with the purpose of holding back the earth, and you’ve probably seen several of them before. The walls can be constructed at the bottom of hills to keep soil from sliding down, and they are common near sidewalks.

Basically, soil has something called the angle of repose, which is how high it can go without sliding. You can test this by pouring soil onto a spot. A hill will form, but as you add more dirt the hill will eventually collapse and the excess dirt will slide off. The texas retaining walls are used to shore up hills and other mounds of dirt to ensure this doesn’t happen in real life.

As an example, let’s say that there is a wall holding back a hill near a hiking trail. The hill is constantly exerting pressure on the wall, even if we can’t see it due to changes in the weather and erosion. So, the wall needs to be built to withstand those pressures. If it doesn’t the wall will collapse and the dirt on the hill will start to slide out.

It’s almost like a dam bursting, and eventually the hill will collapse and cover up the trail. So, the wall needs to be designed to resist the pressure for as long as it can. This is either done through gravity, or through using planks of wood. The construction type and material depends on the type of the soil as well as the slope of the hill, so it’s not uncommon to see retaining walls built from all manner of materials.

Retaining walls are common, and you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of them now that you know what they are and how they help keep the piles of dirt under control.