What’s the best way to keep your patio from sliding into the ocean? The answer, of course, is a retaining wall. But before you go out to design and install patio—or any other type of wall—make sure you’re getting one that will actually do the job.


What is a retaining wall?

A retaining wall is a structure built to hold back the soil. Retaining walls are commonly used in gardens and yards, but they can also be found in parks or other large open spaces. A retaining wall can be made of many different materials, including concrete, brick, stone, and wood.

Retaining walls are also known as earthen barriers (or earthworks). They’re often used to define space within a garden or yard by creating boundaries between different land areas with varying height levels.

A porch can leverage the design and install patio solution if there are concerns about soil movement near the structural hardscape.


When do you need a retaining wall?

Retaining walls are necessary for several reasons. First, they keep the soil from eroding away as you use your patio.

Second, they prevent water from flowing over the edges and down into your yard or garden. Retaining walls also keep the patio level and stable, preventing it from cracking apart if it were to sink or shift without them.

Finally, retaining walls prevent roots from growing into your patio structure and weakening its integrity—this is especially important if you live in an area with trees nearby!


When can you get away without a retaining wall?

Luckily, there are a few instances where you don’t need to build a retaining wall. If your patio is on flat ground, you can get away with not making one.

Also, if your patio is located on a hillside and the grade of the slope is less than 3 percent (that’s three feet for every hundred), then you shouldn’t have any issues with building your own retaining wall when you design and install patio structures.


Do retainer walls require maintenance?

Yes, they do. Retaining walls are made of concrete and other materials that must be maintained. They also have plants on them which require regular maintenance.

The retaining wall itself needs to be cleaned monthly or so with a pressure washer or other cleaning device if it is too dirty, but no maintenance is required beyond this unless there is some damage visible—in which case the wall should be repaired as soon as possible by a professional retaining wall contractor.


Where to get help

A retaining wall is usually an attractive and practical addition to any design and install patio situation, but it isn’t always necessary. Depending on the slope of your yard, you may be able to construct a simple paver or flagstone patio without the need for a retaining wall.

The best way to know what kind of retaining wall you’ll need is to contact our design and install patio team at Elite Development Group. We have years of experience constructing bespoke retaining walls for all kinds of landscaping and hardscaping needs.