When one is researching retaining walls, there are a number of varying ways to initially seek out the type that would fit best with your landscaping plans. However, many people miss the boat on this one detail! Before you embark upon such an endeavor it’s imperative that you design and build in a suitable area. You should also make sure to protect the wall from erosion or anything else that can bring harm to it due to elements beyond your control. Thus, you must take precautions not to falter on these defenses or fail with what is supposed to be locked in place for long-term support. If you’re building a retaining wall then you must ensure its integrity!

Retaining walls are an important element in the landscape industry. Having the right company to design and build them can mean the difference between a highly functional, beautiful retaining wall or one that is a hazard. Retaining walls are built to keep soil from eroding or falling down an incline. They are very effective in doing this, but if they are not constructed correctly they can fail and fail catastrophically. 

A retaining wall may appear to be a strong structure but in most situations, they have a tendency to fail. Retaining walls are used in different situations all around the world. They are used to prevent soil erosion in high-risk areas, to prevent the land from sliding, or just as a means of decoration. Retaining walls are useful constructions and they can last a very long time if they are constructed properly. However, even well-constructed retaining walls can fail. Let’s go over the top reasons why these walls fail and what you can do to make sure your retaining wall is going to be successful. 

1. Poor Foundation

A good foundation is essential for the success of any structure. This is especially true when it comes to retaining walls. Large retaining walls are commonly used to create a firm foundation underneath a house or other structure. These walls ensure that the foundation does not collapse or sink in. There are some things to consider when building a retaining wall. If you use dirt to build the wall, it will most likely shift and sink over time. 

If there is a problem with the foundation, it could lead to the retaining wall failing. As with any home project, it’s important to do it right the first time. Any home improvement can be a risk, so if you’re planning a retaining wall, you should consult with a professional engineer. If you’re unsure of your ability to install a retaining wall, it’s best to hire a contractor.

2. Poor Drainage

Retaining walls are walls that are built to prevent backfilling from shifting. If a backfilled area has poor drainage, it can lead to ponding water behind the wall and cause erosion. Ponding water can also cause frost heaving. With a retaining wall, the foundation of the wall must also be considered. The foundation of the wall should be higher than the anticipated water level. Walls should be built with the lowest part underground. This will allow water to run off and avoid ponding. The wall must be made of a durable material that can withstand the correct amount of pressure needed to withstand soil. A wall that is too thick will not allow proper drainage and will also be expensive.

When a retaining wall is built, the soil around it must be compacted properly to prevent water from seeping through the top of the wall. So if the soil is kept too loose due to poor drainage and it’s compacted, it can cause the wall to fail and soil can cascade the land around it. There are many reasons why retaining walls fail to hold backwater, but one of the most common reasons is poor drainage. If you have a retaining wall, it’s likely to be in an area that usually gets a decent amount of rain or snow. If there is poor drainage, water will pool up and then spill over your wall. This is especially true if the wall is uphill from the pooling water. To help combat poor drainage, make sure that you have a proper perimeter drain running along the edge of your wall, and slope the wall on both sides so it doesn’t catch water. These simple solutions will help you have a wall that holds its own for many years to come.

3. Poor Design

Retaining walls are built around the perimeter of a property to contain the soil and prevent erosion. However, after years of natural wear and tear, these walls can become unstable and fail. One of the biggest reasons these walls fail is poor design. Some engineers will make walls too tall for the soil in order to prevent erosion. This makes the walls incredibly unstable and with time the foundation may develop cracks. The number one sign that a retaining wall is not designed properly is if the ground begins to sink around it. This is the tell-tale sign that the wall is not anchored into the ground properly.

There are many people out there who believe that having a retaining wall – even just to prop up the soil in gardens or around driveways – is an effective solution to help with drainage issues. However, many of these same people neglect the actual construction of their retaining walls and they end up costing them more than they imagined. To be more specific, there are a number of reasons why retaining walls tend to fail during construction, leading to many people having to pay for unnecessary repairs. First, you need to find a contractor who is experienced with these types of projects. Second, you need to do your research on the initial design of the wall. Finally, you need to be patient with the construction process and follow all necessary safety precautions.


Retaining walls tend to fail a lot due to poor construction and poor planning. The top three primary reasons for retaining wall failure are the poor foundation, poor drainage, and poor design. Foundation failures happen for a few reasons. One reason is not building the base of the wall deep enough to support the height and weight of the dirt. Another common mistake is not making sure the drainage and runoff from the higher ground are not directed directly onto the wall. A common way to ensure this is to build the wall at least two feet off the ground and make sure that water is not pooling near the wall. When you’re designing the wall, make sure that the drainage is at least three feet deep, this will give it room for the runoff to go back into the ground.

When people think of retaining walls, they usually only think about their aesthetics. They don’t think about how they affect drainage and how important it is to have a sturdy one. A good rule of thumb is to build your retaining wall twice as high as you want it to be. It’s a lot easier to build it higher than to take it down and build it taller!

Several factors affect the durability and strength of your property, as an owner of a residential or commercial building, it’s important to know that wall blocks are investments and not just regular structures. Wall blocks also help mitigate the risks of soil erosion on your property especially if you have a landscaping garden or farm or ranch animals like horses where the risk is higher. At Retaining Walls Salem Oregon, being an experienced contractor in this field, we understand your needs as a homeowner, and to ensure you get what you pay for, contact us now so one of our professional contractors will have the chance to discuss in detail all that we have mentioned above. Call us today at (503) 272-1760 to get your free quote!