You may already have a good perspective on the retaining wall you need for your property since its primary purpose is to hold the soil to prevent it from eroding and causing damage. But the bigger question is what kind of wall do you need, and what are the factors that will influence your decision? Factors such as the location and the soil condition are essential, and so are other factors such as the design of the wall and the drainage. If you want to be sure that your retaining wall serves its purpose well, here's how to effectively design the best property retaining wall for your requirements.
When it comes to the design of your wall, whether you opt for a king post wall or another retaining wall system, you should calculate the corresponding footprint sizes, heights, slopes, and setback angles based on the grade and site elevation. It is also worth noting that gravity will do its part to move the retained materials downslope naturally. You should then make it a point to counteract the effects of gravity to minimise the pressure of the soil behind the retaining wall. If there is too much pressure, this can overturn the retaining wall eventually. The height of your wall is also based on the slope and the soil, the block size, and the setback.
You may also want to remember that if gravity by itself will not support the retaining wall, you can take advantage of different reinforcement methods. These reinforcements will depend on the type of wall you have and its design, height, friction, soil material, and angle, amongst others. For example, you can use mechanically stabilised earth or MSE, which is soil that has been artificially reinforced with geogrids or steel. Geogrid consists of high-tensile fabrics that form a woven grid, and you can place it between each retaining block layer and roll it back into the earth. You can also use other methods of reinforcement, like soil nailing, rock bolts, and earth anchors.
Drainage is another essential consideration, especially since water will often be the most common cause of retaining wall failure. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your retaining wall has sufficient drainage, and you also have to make sure that you can prevent water buildup behind the retaining wall. You should, for instance, check out prospective sources of surface water and ensure that there is drainage beside the site of the wall. It is also crucial for you to grade your retaining wall site to see if you can locate any drainage patterns and then build a drainage system to reduce the effect of water pressure from groundwater.
One drainage system you can use would be a backfill with gravel, or you can also use drain pipes or holes that allow the water to go through the retaining wall. If you are involved in a larger project like a transportation project, it is vital to have a hydrology analysis.
Aside from all this, assess the location and soil because the soil will be the actual base or foundation of your retaining wall. As such, examine it carefully to make sure it is strong enough to support the retaining wall.
Image attributed to JPConcrete.co.uk