Retaining Walls - Kitchener, Waterloo

Retaining walls are a common landscape feature, especially for homes built on sloped properties. If you are planning on building a retaining wall in the Kitchener -Waterloo area, call Blackwell today for a free estimate.

Definition of a Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a masonry structure that is used to hold back or retain soil, rocks or other materials on sloped ground. Many residential homes have areas on their property that are built on uneven ground. A retaining wall can be an important feature in these kinds of areas. Retaining walls can act as a barrier that prevents either soil erosion or movement. 

Types of Retaining Walls

The most common types of retaining walls are gravity walls, cantilever retaining walls, sheet pile retaining walls,  anchored retaining walls and counterfort retaining walls. Below you will find an illustration demonstrating the characteristics of each of these types of walls.

Gravity Walls

Often the simplest of the retaining walls, gravity walls are usually built to a height of no more than four feet, are generally thicker at the base than the top, and lean back towards the slope to hold material in. Although a homeowner may be able to build gravity walls themselves, it is still recommended to employ an experienced company to do the work cave-ins from collapsed walls can be costly.

Cantilever Retaining Walls

Cantilever retaining walls can resist more soil than gravity walls due to their solid foundation and steel reinforcement. Due to their more complex nature, it is advised to use a professional masonry expert to construct them. All walls can take days, weeks or even months to install depending on the size and complexity of the project.


"We have had two separate jobs completed by Blackwell Masonry. Both jobs were completed to our satisfaction, on time, and in a professional manner." - Theresa A.

Sheet Pile Retaining Walls

Sheet pile walls are frequently used when limited space is an issue, or when the soil is relatively soft. Although the walls are narrower than other choices, they are inserted much deeper into the soil to allow them to withstand the heavy loads.

Anchored Retaining Walls

Anchored walls, like sheet pile walls, are narrower but are distinct in that they employ anchoring cables that are embedded deep into the rock behind the wall. This construction provides a stronger construction in areas where the walls are under greater pressure. For more information read our blog post entitled, "Retaining Wall Build and Maintenance - Kitchener."

Counterfort Retaining Walls

While not demonstrated in the illustration above, another common type of retaining wall are counterfort retaining walls. Using a similar method to cantilever walls, this type of wall includes concrete counterforts or buttresses to provide added strength. These types of walls are especially suited to areas where extra height is needed. At Blackwell, we have many years of experience designing and building masonry retaining walls. Contact us today for a no obligation, free estimate and  advice.


Hardscapes - Retaining Wall Design

Top 5 Retaining Wall Types and Their Uses

What is a Retaining Wall