Owning commercial or residential property along areas like the west coast can be costly, considering any land comes at a premium. Maximizing land use is easier if you install retaining walls. Below we’ll identify the purpose of retaining walls, what types and styles there are, and when you should consider beginning the installation process.

What Are Retaining Walls?

Retaining walls protect landscaping areas that usually slope downward, especially in hilly areas or around water. A widespread practice in the Bay Area of San Francisco, building a retaining wall is necessary to protect a soil area from sliding out of place. Although there could be many reasons a retaining wall structure is optimal to install, here are a few of the primary functions:

  • Water Runoff
  • Land Usage
  • Security and Seating

Now that we’ve defined our subject and the purpose of a retaining wall, let’s take a deeper look at a few of the functions that can be used. Managing water runoff is a standout for those on the coast that experience periods of high rainfall. Retaining wall systems in many of these environments are designed to slow the flow, which will pay dividends in the long term for your garden and property.

Another function regarding your property directly that can be boosted by retaining walls involves land usage. Property is priced at a premium in highly populated areas like California and its major urban areas. Although many of these areas are sloped downward in the Bay Area, retaining walls have contributed significantly to creating usable land. Even if you are starting from scratch and looking to develop quickly, retaining walls are an immediate must in creating flat, usable surfaces on uneven slopes.

For outdoor spaces with finished features, the process of installation around garden areas can act to enclose areas, creating an added security feature to the property. Even additional patio or deck spaces may open up for consideration thanks to the greater land usage via retaining walls.

Types of Retaining Walls Found in Outdoor Spaces

Retaining walls are also highly customizable, so it’s up to you to choose the perfect design fit for your property. Here are some of your options, ranging from the types of retaining wall blocks to particular styles.

Cantilever Wall

Cantilever walls must be installed by experienced professionals in tight locations. Typically sculpted in L-shape or T-shape layouts, cantilevers are built to enclose a lighter amount of soil than other wall designs but can still support substantial weight. The construction of the concrete blocks features a prominent base slab attached to another thin stem structure that executes the retaining.

Anchored Wall

An ideal form of construction for heavy-duty support, anchored retaining wall blocks are bound together through steel strips and cables, concreted, and drilled to the ground. Often used in developing commercial retaining walls around large properties, anchored construction provides any size of walls for substantial results.

Sheet Piling Wall

Similar to the cantilever wall design, slim walls are inserted directly into the landscaping area and are meant for residential homes and small gardens.

Gravity Wall

The best option in retaining for building up, we let gravity dictate the process of protecting your space. Dry-stacked stone can be built upright, playing into the design of the backward lean.
With these numerous options of wall design tailored in many directions, Airtight Construction has you covered in your retaining selection, even offering a variety of styles, including:

  • Natural Retaining
  • Brick or Cinder Block Retaining
  • Poured Concrete Retaining
  • Wood Retaining
  • Slippage Cracking


Are you researching to install a retaining wall on or near your property? Learn more here from a wall contractor that has been shaping and transforming landscaping in the Bay Area for decades.

What To Know Before Installing Retaining Walls

Feeling comfortable in your knowledge of what a retaining wall is used for? Follow this checklist for a head start before installing to protect your property.


Where your property is located and what is around and below the surrounding areas is always the first priority on our checklist. Pinpointing all water lines, storm drains, and sewer lines are vital before installation.

Water Drainage

Understanding how much drainage occurs onsite, professionals can be prepared to install extra gravel backfill into your walls to avoid retaining failure.


The weight of the surrounding soil areas is vital in determining how much mass a specific retaining wall type can support.

Wall Design

A rule of thumb in any retaining wall is that the natural stones must decrease the pressure of the earth in the surrounding settings. The proper selection is crucial.

When Is the Time Right for Building a Retaining Wall?

Now that we understand what retaining walls are used for, let’s determine when the time is best for you to install.

Downhill Erosion

Downhill erosion is no joke. Luckily, retaining walls can minimize the erosion and maximize the slope at your convenience.

Soil Fault Lines and Sliding Hills

Pending an earthquake, soil fault lines present immediate danger in exposure following such events. Retaining walls can provide direct support to your property.

Install a Retaining Wall Today

Are retaining walls the answer for your space? There’s no reason to leave your property at risk, and you might even find new usable space you didn’t know existed. Contact Airtight Construction and install retaining walls today.