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Mason Green
Mason Green

Retaining Walls; Their Design And Construction !EXCLUSIVE!



The design process for a segmental retaining wall typically has a Wall Design Engineer or Site Civil Engineer responsible for the wall design envelope. Geotechnical engineers should be hired to evaluate the overall stability of the site. For information into the basic concepts behind an Allan Block retaining wall design see page 18 of the AB Spec Book and Best Practices for SRW walls.




Retaining Walls; Their Design And Construction


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Below I describe the process for design of a simple retaining wall and some of the issues that should be considered. This is by no means a complete step-by-step list of instructions but it will provide the reader with a basic understanding of what goes into the design effort and what to expect from it.


The designer should also consider whether jointing of the wall is required. Contraction joints are used to control temperature and shrinkage cracking. The spacing of these joints is usually 1 to 1 times the wall height but not more than 20 feet. Expansion joints may be needed on unusually long walls or where walls abut another structure. Construction joints may be required for unusually tall or long walls.


The designer should specify the requirements for the backfill and for the drainage of the backfill. The type of soil to be used and the required compaction should be specified. Free-draining aggregate fill placed in shallow lifts and compacted with a vibratory plate compactor will induce the least pressure on the wall and will most likely produce the most economical design for taller walls. Sometimes it will be desirable to place a cap of clayey soil above the aggregate fill. The backfill should be drained with perforated pipe wrapped in filter fabric or with weep holes installed at regular intervals through the face of the wall.


Mr. Brian Walker,Thank you for this resource. It is good information to begin design and to consider during the design and construction. I appreciate the time you have taken to compile this information and make it available to all.


First off, I love that you went to Oklahoma State as I have a ton of family members that went there and love that place. I love this article, because I have come across so many DIY retaining walls that break and I end up fixing them. Most people forget about the drain component and key. So what happens is the soil gets saturated and then starts to move and destroy the stem. This article really shows you the right way to do it and I also like that you are calling out pricing per foot as I get that question all the time.


Thank you for an informative and easy-to-read post. I was looking for basic information about retaining wall construction to verify against what my contractor told me, and this was exactly what I needed.


Keystone Construction Manual: Developed as a tool to aide in the design and construction of Keystone structural products including Keystone Standard and Keystone Compac units. This manual was updated in 2020.Country Manor System Design & Construction Manual: Covers design and installation details for both the original Country Manor and Stonegate units. Contents include design details such as: corners, curves, steps, terraces and free-standing walls, in addition to sections on design considerations and design charts.


Keystone Design Manual & KeyWallPRO Operating Guide: Updated in 2020, it concisely describes the retaining wall design components and related design theory based on accepted engineering principals and concepts. The KeyWallPRO program allows the user to choose between different design methodologies and compare results. This manual simplifies design by concentrating on the Keystone concrete wall units and specific geogrid products.


There are many things that need to go into building a retaining wall before the first shovel of dirt is ever moved. By using the information we have on building retaining walls you will get everything you need to plan, design and build the perfect retaining wall project.


Use the plan/design menu above to check out all of the information we have on how to build a retaining wall up to 6 ft. high (1.8 m). For walls larger than 6 ft. (1.8 m) use the information on large retaining walls.


  • Not sure where to start? Check out some of the popular topics for proper retaining wall installation: Site prep and pre planning

  • Maximum gravity wall heights chart

  • Basic retaining wall installation steps

  • Stepping up the base course on a sloping yard project

  • Reinforced walls using geogrid

  • Building stairways in a retaining wall

  • Finishing a retaining wall with caps



Poured concrete is now generally used for foundations (whether for homes or major structures), roads, curbs, retaining walls, bridges, and swimming pools! Forms render strong, ridged concrete structures, which not only compete with natural stone, but with modern additives, surpass it for strength, and flexibility.


This requires Earth Retention solutions. Oscar Orduno, Inc. utilizes a wide range of geotechnical techniques to create new retaining walls, enhance existing structures, or apply remediation to any retaining walls currently experiencing failure. That means stabilizing the soil and rock as part of an excavation process.


Oscar Orduno, Inc. specializes in design-build retaining walls, earth retention systems, underpinnings, and specialty foundations. We exceed industry standards and provide the best results in all of our projects. Our team brings passion, engagement, and preparation for every job.


Our design-build retaining walls service area covers most of the state of Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Lubbock, Amarillo, Tyler, and Waco. You will encounter our bright orange equipment in all of those places!


Engineers have several different options for the design and construction of retaining walls. At present, retaining walls can be built out of traditional materials such as concrete and steel reinforcement, or from new technological materials such as geosynthetics and lightweight concrete. Furthermore, in the last twenty years, pre-manufactured retaining wall systems have become available that offer reasonable factors of safety while providing multiple aesthetic facing options. Typically, several conditions from the geotechnical, structural, civil, and construction perspectives have a bearing on the type of wall that is best suited for a particular site. Choosing the wrong type of wall may not provide sufficient restraint, may be impractical to construct, and may cause instability in the existing geotechnical conditions.


A decision has to be made at the beginning of design: Is the site better suited for top-down construction or bottom-up construction? Top-down construction is appropriate for sites that need to be excavated to achieve final grade, while the bottom-up approach applies to sites that need to be filled. Technologies for top-down construction include soil nail walls, secant drilled shafts, and soldier pile walls, while technologies for bottom-up construction include mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls, conventional gravity walls, and gabion walls. Each of these technologies has unique applications that are dependent on the site layout, the height of wall, soil conditions, the presence of nearby structures, underground utilities, and the intended use of the areas near the top and bottom of the wall.


Too often, the wrong wall type is selected for a site, which results in two retaining walls being constructed where only one is needed. An example is when a design incorporates a bottom-up wall that requires excavation into an existing slope. In order to provide the restraint required, such as a heel for concrete walls or geosynthetic length for MSE walls, a nearly vertical slope must be excavated behind these elements. This requires an additional top-down construction wall behind the proposed wall. If the designer is aware of all the retaining wall technologies, one top-down wall could be utilized in this situation, resulting in a substantial decrease in cost to the owner.


Top-down or bottom-up retaining walls have advantages and disadvantages that are specific to the site and situation. But who or what determines which retaining wall system is the most appropriate, considering cost, resistance and constructability?


There are generally two approaches to design and construction: the traditional approach, where an engineer designs the system and the contractor builds it; and the performance-specified approach, where the engineer provides the basic criteria such as length, height, and location, and the contractor designs and builds the wall with engineering support, either in-house or subcontracted.


In the traditional approach, the contractor constructs the wall in accordance with the plans and specifications developed by the engineer. The owner hires an engineer to design a retaining wall, and the engineer provides plans and specifications for contractors to use in preparing competitive bids.


Another option for designing and building a retaining structure is the performance-specified wall. In this approach, the design team provides basic criteria, such as desired wall length, height, etc. and the contractor, with engineering support, designs and builds


Retaining Walls are particularly ideal for a landscape that needs a level area. The walls can create a perfect level area where children can safely play. In addition, the walls can provide a designated area for a pool or patio. What better way to entertain guests this spring, summer and fall with a fantastic new area to hang out, barbeque and have fun. The expert KG Landscape construction team will build the landscape of your dreams!


Aside from leveling a particular area, walls can also be used to terrace slopes. This allows for landscaped gardens and plantings to be assembled on flat areas. A retaining wall will give you the perfect spot to bloom beautiful tulips and trees this spring. Or, you can even put food plants in the ground, and enjoy corn or anything else all year round. It may even be the basis for your new patio! 350c69d7ab


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