Gravity or “Lock” Block: These are a very popular retaining wall choice for large retaining walls either spanning for a great distance or over several terraces.
The large rectangular concrete blocks are stacked on top of each other and through gravity and the eventual settling of the surrounding soil they make an excellent retaining wall. Locking concrete blocks are obviously very heavy and can only be moved using heavy machinery which can add significant cost to the project even though the blocks themselves are relatively inexpensive.
Boulder Retaining Walls: Boulders make a very strong statement and much like gravity blocks their sheer size is what gives them an edge as retaining wall construction material.
The natural look of stone if appealing and no two boulders will be alike giving you a very unique appearance to your wall. Retaining walls built with boulders will also require the use of heavy machinery which will add to the cost of your project. Boulders are purchased by the ton and are available in good supply locally.
Concrete Retaining Walls: For a very modern and clean look many property owners choose to use concrete for their retaining walls. When using concrete we must construct wood forms so that the concrete can be poured or pumped into the retaining wall form.
Walls with many complex curves or that are very long can require extensive formwork which is quite labor intensive. One of the benefits to concrete is that it can be colored or even stamped on the outer surface to enhance the appearance and make it appear like stone blocks, or wood or other materials.
Landscaping Block Retaining Walls: This is probably one of the most common retaining wall materials because of it’s pleasing looks, availability and affordability. Landscaping blocks are usually used to build retaining walls that are under 3′ – 4′ feet in height. They are available in different shapes with decorative colors and even texturing.
The stackable blocks or stones are made of concrete and usually have a decorative finish on the front side and then a small lip on the back. The lip fits into the block below it to form an interlocking joint that can withstand the external forces of your soil and fill pushing against it. The blocks are often slightly wedge shaped to make it easier to create curved retaining wall designs.