Best Tips for Retaining Walls

Here at HBB Geosales we have built a lot of retaining walls, so we class ourselves skilled in the art of building these type of walls. So we would like to share our knowledge with you today and everything that you need to know. Lets start off with an easy one.

What are retaining walls

A retaining wall is a structure which holds back a slope or bank which is at a different level. If the retaining wall was not there the slope would slip. Retaining walls can be constructed of many different materials. Some of the most common materials are concrete blocks, gabions, stone and Vegetated MSE Bags. Retaining walls which are greater than 1.2m may require planning permission.

retaining wall top tips

Do all retaining walls need drainage?

Most retaining walls will require some form of drainage to prevent a hydrostatic pressure behind the wall. If water builds up behind the wall it could threaten the wall’s integrity. Some retaining walls are permeable such as a dry stone dykes so they might not require drainage. This is also one of the key advantages of Vegetated MSE Bags, it is a permeable solution so doesn’t require any drainage.

Does a retaining wall need foundations?

All well designed retaining walls should have a foundation. As a rule of thumb the foundation width will be slightly greater than the width of the building material being used. The foundation depth will be determined by the height of the wall that is being built. A Vegetated MSE Bag wall only requires a foundation 300mm wide and 300mm deep regardless of height. This makes it a great solution for projects with limited foundation and site access.

Do you need planning permission?

There is no straightforward answer to this, as some walls could fall under permitted development. However all structural walls associated with buildings, or areas where people frequently go should have a building warrant. Planning permission varies from region to region so it is always better to check.Walls associated to infrastructure works i.e. that may be near a river or watercourse needs approval from SEPA or the EA.

If you are having your wall professionally designed then your designer should be able to tell you quite quickly and help you through the process. A quick call to your local planning authority will give you the answer you need and peace of mind!

How long will a block retaining wall last?

Don’t really know the answer to this one – how long is a piece of string?

A lot will depend on the product used and the environment it is being used in.

A timber retaining wall in wet conditions may only last 10 – 15 years while Vegetated MSE Bags has a design life of 75 years.

If you would like to talk to us about any of the products and services that we offer please contacts us today and let’s discuss your project.