How Can I Make My Retaining Wall Last?

Since a retaining wall is such an integral part of your home’s and landscape’s hardscaping, it’s important to know what to expect in terms of maintenance and durability. After all, constructing a retaining wall is an investment, so you’ll want it to last for years and withstand the elements. Reliable landscaping and design professionals will answer any questions you have about your retaining wall and other hardscaping projects, ensuring that your home receives the finest landscaping treatment and maintenance. When it comes to the lifetime of your retaining wall, here are the fundamentals.

Wall Material

The material you use will play a big role in how long your retaining wall lasts. Due to its cost-effectiveness and durability, concrete is a common material option for a variety of hardscaping structures. A concrete retaining wall will last anywhere between 50 and 100 years. A brick masonry wall, on the other hand, can be expected to last at least 100 years, depending on the nature of the work. A retaining wall built by a reputable masonry professional who does high-quality work would last much longer than one built by an inexperienced contractor.


When it comes to the durability of your retaining wall, the weather plays a part. Your retaining wall can weather faster than average if you live in an area with frequent, powerful storms. In mild climates, masonry structures can last much longer and require less maintenance. It’s a good idea to build a partnership with a masonry professional you can trust to keep it well-maintained and looking fresh over time if you live in an area where the weather is often harsh.

How to Make The Retaining Wall Last Longer

Cleaning and maintaining your retaining wall is important for extending its life. Keep an eye on your wall for cracks or signs of damage, and keep up with repairs and maintenance to keep these problems from getting worse. Proactive maintenance will not only keep your hardscaping looking fresh, but they will also keep your retaining wall running properly for years to come.

Retaining Walls Tips

  • Begin with a solid base. – Your retaining wall’s support system will determine how solid it is. A trench filled with three inches of crushed rock can help prevent a stacked-block retaining wall no higher than four feet from moving and settling. The exact depth of the trench will depend on the wall’s proposed height, but here’s a general rule of thumb: Excavate a trench that is an eighth of the length of the wall plus three inches. For example, if you want your retaining wall to be three feet (36 inches) tall when completed, you’ll need to dig the trench eight inches deep to accommodate three inches of crushed rock and about five inches (or an eighth of the visible retaining wall) below grade to begin the wall.
  • Stack the blocks on a slight incline. – A wall that leans into the soil it holds is less likely than a straight vertical wall to be forced outward by soil pressure. Create a retaining wall that slopes at least one inch for every one foot of rise (height). Working with retaining wall blocks makes this “step-back” construction extremely simple! Every block’s bottom edge has a locking flange that guides it into position slightly behind the lower block, preventing the top blocks from being pushed outward.
  • Don’t forget to leave enough space for drainage. – The natural enemy of retaining walls is groundwater. Clay-type soils swell when saturated, putting undue pressure on the backside of the wall. Make drainage provisions at the same time as you create the retaining wall to prevent failure.

Are You Looking for a Company to Build Concrete Retaining Walls for Your Home? 

Spaulding Concrete has been the SF Bay Area’s top Concrete Retaining Wall Builder for over 30 years.  We’re here to build your home’s retaining walls that will last a lifetime, no matter where they need to be placed. We have the specialized equipment, services and professional experience that you need to make permanent improvements to your landscaping. To get you started on the right foot, we would be happy to give you a free quote for your retaining walls. When you reach out by phone or email we will have one of our experts answer any questions you have and explain how we can restore integrity and structural stability to your home or landscape permanently. The qualified concrete experts at Spaulding Concrete will be on schedule, on budget and meet or exceed standards by careful planning, professional execution, and strict quality control. To schedule your free quote, contact us today! We are proud to serve Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood and the surrounding areas.