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Designing Retaining Walls for Effective Water Management

Jerilder and Levy state that retaining walls are widely used in most landscapes, where they are assigned both utilitarian and ornamental values by most homeowners. Still, if the contours and, in particular, the construction layout is not correct, they can be easily exposed to water and gradually erode. This paper aims to outline some important ways of managing water in order to increase the durability of retaining walls. Here, we are going to discuss one of the essential parts of designing a retaining wall ; Water management and how homeowners can do it correctly.

Understanding Water Pressure

Another force that puts pressure on retaining walls is water pressure which is a very strong force. When the water is trapped behind the wall, the kind of pressure that is exerted is very strong which leads to crack formations and even erosion and eventual collapsing of the walls. To combat this, it is necessary to design the wall for its proper management in relation to water.

Designing for Drainage

There must be appropriate drainage to ensure that water does not accumulate behind the retaining wall since poor drainage is disastrous. This is possible by employing the methods that include the application of perforated pipes, the French drain systems, and swales. It is advised that anyone constructing a home should consult professional drainage contractors to whom the homeowner can explain his or her situation and have a drainage system that is suited for the owner’s needs.

Material Selection

Material selection is also vital when it comes to creating a retaining wall that will resist water pressure. Materials that do not allow water passage like concrete, bricks, stone and other comparable blocks should be used to construct the retaining walls. Nevertheless, it is mandatory to guarantee the moisture tightness of the materials and their proper care in order to avoid leaking.

Additional Tips

In addition to designing for drainage and selecting the right materials, there are several other tips homeowners can follow to ensure effective water management:

  • It is also good to construct a wall in a sloping structure so that it does not retain any water behind it.
  • Ensure the construction contains weep holes or specified drainage systems that are properly placed to allow for water to drain.
  • Waterproof the structure by using a waterproof membrane that will ensure that no water seeps through the wall.
  • Aesthetically, the wall exhibits cracks and loose areas, so the wall should be checked and maintained frequently to avoid such issues such as erosion.


The construction of a retaining wall that needs to have pumping pressure of water on it must be well designed and well thought of. More about water pressure, how to design the drainage, evaluate the choice of components, and other recommendations will help the homeowner to ensure that the retaining wall will be stable and functioning perfectly for a long time. Patronize a reputable drainage contractor and ensure that you obtain a well designed retaining wall to enjoy the full benefits.

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