Your experts in retaining walls
Retaining walls have been used in garden landscaping for centuries. Designed to prevent soil erosion, create space, separate a gardens into different levels and divert water, retaining walls can be both functional and attractive and have many applications.
On sloping ground, retaining walls may be an essential part of the construction process of a house or landscaping project. By separating levels in a building or garden and allowing the maximum use of the sloping ground, multiple retaining walls can maximise the available space even on the steepest ground.
Building a retaining wall isn’t a DIY project. Using a professional builder with structural and retaining wall experience is essential for any construction project requiring a retaining wall to ensure a safe, cost-effective, and quality result.
Combining practicality and function with style and design, Wisdom Pools and Landscapes have been constructing retaining walls for landscaping for over 10 years.
Our philosophy is to provide our clients with functional and beautiful outdoor projects, including retaining walls, that integrate perfectly and give them maximum use from their home and garden.
Frequently Asked Questions
A retaining wall is a rigid wall that’s used to support the soil above and behind it and stop it falling down; literally ‘retaining’ it, so it creates different levels. Walls can vary from small landscape stone walls in a garden, to huge municipal engineering projects.
A retaining wall is different to a garden wall is it’s intended to keep a hill, slope or earth in place rather than simply separate blocks of land.
As well as being a functional landscape element, retaining walls can add depth and character to a garden, creating a design element that allows for a diverse array of planting and landscaping elements.
There are a number of factors that will influence the cost of your retaining wall, the major ones being materials used, the size and scale of the wall, the height and design and excavation and drainage requirements.
A timber retaining wall will initially cost less than a concrete retaining wall but it will have both a shorter lifespan and less structural strength. Treated hardwood, concrete, brick or stone, while costing more to install, will last much longer and need less maintenance.
If your retaining wall project needs council approval and structural diagrams this will also add to the cost as will drainage and excavation costs.
A retaining wall construction specialist will be able to itemise your quote and quote you on a cost per square metre basis.
Your local council will have the correct guidelines for the construction of a retaining wall in your area but a general rule of thumb is that anything over 1 metre high will need approval and a structural engineer.
Other factors that will influence your requirement for council approval are distance from a boundary line, being in a heritage or environmentally sensitive area, flood control and near natural water bodies.
You should always check that your retaining wall complies with any local council rules and regulations before you build as these vary from council to council.
There are two factors that determine how high your retaining wall can be. The first is the height restrictions set by your council and the second is the physical restrictions of the material you use, such as timber or concrete sleepers.
Many landscaping projects requiring retaining walls will be because the property sits on a sloping block, so in some instances more than one retaining wall will be needed to ‘step’ the ground from the highest side to the lowest side.
There are four different types of retaining wall that are appropriate for most Australian garden landscaping projects.
- Gravity retaining wall – Constructed with a slight backwards lean and thicker base, this wall uses its weight to hold back the soil. This simple design can be made from many different types of material depending on the look you want to achieve and your budget. Timber, concrete, brick and stone are all options.
- Anchored retaining wall – Using cables embedded in concrete that connect the top and bottom of the wall, these stay strong against a heavy bank of soil. They can be built thinner and taller than a gravity wall and will support a range of different materials.
- Sheet pile retaining walls – For softer soil areas that need extra support, these piling retaining walls use cables to tie the wall and anchor together. One third of the retaining wall will be in the ground and two thirds above so this will affect the type of material used.
- Cantilever retaining walls – These reinforced walls use a T or L shaped footing under the soil to provide maximum support.
Materials used for a retaining wall include:
Masonry and stone
Specialised retaining wall builders with structural and retaining wall experience will be able to tell you which type of wall and material are best for your retaining wall project.
Understanding the location and environmental elements is critical when considering building a retaining wall. Because a retaining wall is a structural entity, if it fails or collapses and can’t hold the weight of the soil behind it, this could be dangerous.
Factors to consider include the location of the wall and if there are any underground utilities, if the wall is on a slope, drainage, the type of soil and whether the design is suitable for the wall height.
Because of the complexity of building a retaining wall, construction should be undertaken by a qualified, experienced landscaper and retaining wall contractor.
It is always best to seek the advise of a licenced landscaping contractor to discuss your retaining wall needs.
Wisdom Pools and Landscapes service all of Sydney and the surrounding areas down to Wollongong, Kiama and the Illawarra region as well as Camden and parts of the Wollondilly region down to Jarvis Bay.
We’ve been creating award-winning landscapes, gardens and constructing retaining walls in Sydney for over 10 years and have designed and constructed a huge range of retaining wall projects.
Please get in touch if you’d like to find out if we service your area and can help with your retaining wall project.
Wisdom Pools and Landscapes is the right choice for your retaining wall project because of our experience, knowledge and expertise in constructing safe, functional and attractive retaining walls of all designs and sizes in Sydney.
Whatever your lifestyle and budget we can design, construct, landscape and deliver your retaining wall. With our end-to-end landscaping design and construction service, we offer peace of mind that we’re the right choice for your landscaping needs.