Retaining walls can be immensely useful for those that live in steep hilly areas. For example they can  reduce soil erosion and turn steep slopes into terraced backdrops. Sometimes you can not avoid installation of retaining walls around various buildings to make sure they are protected from the surrounding soil caused by significant level difference. In order for retaining walls to function correctly, they must be created properly. As a gardens service, we will provide some top tips as well as some things to avoid. 

Are You Authorised to Build? 

It is important to make sure that you have permission to build in the form of a permit before starting any building. A retaining wall by nature affects the flow of water in your garden. Thus, this can impact your neighbours. A plan may need to be submitted and you may also need to have a property inspection prior to building. 

Choose Easy Materials 

You can construct a retaining wall using a range of materials. This can range from concrete blocks to railway sleepers. As a gardens service, we recommend that you use blocks designed for making retaining walls. This is especially the case for DIY projects. 

Stack at a Backwards Slope 

Walls that lean into the soil retains are less likely to be pushed outward by soil pressure. Thus you should design and build your retaining wall to slope at a rate of at least one inch for every foot of height and proper base for any type of retaining wall is absolute crucial.

Allow Drainage 

Groundwater can be problematic for retaining walls. As it saturates clay-type soils, they can swell causing pressure on the backside of the wall. To avoid this, make drainage provisions whilst you make the wall. Also install damp-sheet behind any retaining wall to avoid direct soil contact and extend the life of your retaining wall especially in case of timber materials. You can do this by backfilling space behind the blocks using a crushed stone. Then you install a flexible perforated drain pipe at the base of the wall. This will allow groundwater with an escape route. 

The perforated pipe will help to take groundwater to each side of the wall where it can drain harmlessly. Following this the ends of the drainpipe will exit on each end of the wall. You may choose here to cover them in crushed stone in order to camouflage the appearance. 


We hope you found these tips useful. A retaining wall can be immensely useful for those who live in hilly areas, especially during the rainy winter season. Remember to check that you have permission first before building and allow for drainage. 

Contact Us – Gardens Service 

As specialists in providing landscape and gardens services, we have a wealth of experience and specialist knowledge in our industry. BZ Gardens has fast become a well-established and well-regarded business. We create and care for unique gardens and open spaces for residential, commercial and public clients across London, Greater London and more. Should you have any questions regarding our landscape design services or anything else, feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.