Now Reading
Solid foundations: The role of retaining walls

Welcome to The Oxfordshire Gardener

Receive 15% off your first order, just enter FIRST15 at checkout.

Solid foundations: The role of retaining walls

A stunning retaining wall with incorporated steps leads you to a lush lawn, a hammock awaits you.

The landscapes around us are not always on level ground. Differing levels within a garden can be challenging, but handled deftly they can offer a uniquely beautiful and interesting feel to a garden. So if you have a garden on many levels, what are the options and how can you make the most of them? 

Solid foundations

Challenges can actually be an opportunity to be creative, placing solid foundations that will form a unique style. Providing structure and style, and changing what once may have felt like a slightly daunting landscape into something quite remarkable. 

Retaining walls are essentially built to hold back soil. They are engineered to withstand the pressure exerted by the soil, either through their own weight or with the help of an anchoring system. Quite simply, they retain the ground behind them.

Reasons to retain

Retaining walls can be both practical and aesthetically pleasing. With so many different forms they can be used to create level areas in sloped landscapes, offering further opportunity for terracing and landscaping. Whether your garden is on a gentle slope or a steep incline, retaining walls can help maximise space and enhance usability. 

These walls can be incorporated into creating new beds bursting with colour, statement steps that offer contrast and texture or an area to hold water; this can transform your garden, offering a new style. From infinity pools to ponds. Water is such a tranquil addition to your garden. There’s nothing better than sitting back and listening to the sound of trickling water, surrounded by birdsong. 

By implementing retaining walls, an area can be created offering a flat surface which in turn makes it a usable area; perfect for seating and dining areas and all offerings of outdoor entertainment. Imagine some beautifully placed steps leading you to your very own private area to sit back and relax. From stargazing to the potential for an outdoor cinema? 

During the initial design stages of the landscape allow your mind to wander into the possibilities. What would suit your style and preferences? Would you like to be surrounded by blooms of colour and scents or would you prefer a minimalist style with soothing water features? Would you benefit from creating a terrace area where you can sit out and dine?

Maybe cuisine is something you’re passionate about, why not consider using the retaining wall to create beds to plant fruits and vegetables? Your very own kitchen garden. Use the structure to create a living wall covered in all different herbs to infuse your dining. Create a space that suits your preferences.

The many materials

Constructed using a variety of materials, each with its own unique characteristics and qualities. Keep things natural with stone or bricks or add to that rustic appeal with timber or wooden posts. An industrial style could be incorporated with concrete blocks or sheet piles. A retaining wall can be as large or small as you like; implemented to break up small sections or large scale to create flat platforms on a sloped garden. 

Our expert team can help guide you when choosing the most suitable materials for your project. Years of experience mean we can visualise the landscape and offer examples of previous work. A popular choice around the Cotswolds being limestone as it comes in those golden and cream tones. Maybe you prefer Ironstone which gives those rich honey hues that really offer a warmth to the garden. If you opt for the sheet piles this can offer a more urban inspired style. 

These walls can be adorned with a waterfall of flora delights. They can help to give the illusion of more space for those smaller gardens. By creating levels and platforms space can be used creatively. They can also offer privacy and seclusion, your own secret corner where you can tuck yourself away and let the summer breeze wash away the day. 

For those with children, or pets this may allow you to section off areas of the landscape to ensure the ongoing success of your garden. 

Solid foundations

Construction of retaining walls demands meticulous planning and precise execution to guarantee both structural robustness and enduring quality. Selecting the most suitable type of retaining wall for your landscape be it gravity walls, sheet piles, reinforced soil walls or cantilevered walls. 

Gravity walls

Gravity retaining walls use their weight to withstand pressure from the soil behind them. They are typically constructed using heavy materials like stone or concrete. Any gravity retaining wall systems don’t need concrete footing, making them easy to install and remove when necessary.

Reinforced soil

Reinforced soil retaining walls utilise a reinforced earth bank as the main retaining structure. This earth wall is then covered with 300mm concrete  blocks. The bank is built in layers of earth, with a geogrid placed between them. This geogrid reinforces the earth, allowing it to function as a cohesive unit.

Sheet piles

Sheet pile retaining walls are often used in areas where there is soft soil and tight spaces. These are pressed into the ground, along with anchors which are cemented in. 


Cantilever retaining walls are constructed from reinforced concrete or mortared masonry. Their reinforced base ensures that pressure from the soil behind the wall is directed vertically rather than horizontally, providing a sturdy structure.

Our team of in-house experts plan every aspect of the wall to ensure it harmonises seamlessly with your garden’s layout and aesthetic preferences. While adding hard landscaping elements to your garden may seem daunting, we help to alleviate these concerns. With years of experience designing and executing every detail from concept to creation. We can ensure the final result withstands the test of time.

Retainable charm

Retaining walls are more than just structural elements; they are transformative features that enhance the beauty and functionality of outdoor spaces. Whether used to level a sloped garden, create a terrace or define an outdoor living area. Retaining walls offer endless possibilities for landscape design. We can help you to harness the landscape to its full potential creating stunning outdoor environments that stand the test of time.

Do you have a sloped garden? Talk to our specialists to discover how creating retaining walls can transform your landscape.

© 2020 Brighter Splash. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top