Retaining walls provide lateral support to vertical slopes of soil. They retain soil which would otherwise collapse into a more natural shape. The retained soil is sometimes referred to as backfill.
Retaining walls can be constructed of many different materials and with a variety of building techniques. This discussion will focus on rigid, monolithic, poured concrete walls as the structural material, but steel, timber, and reinforced soil are often used too.
This retaining wall discussion will focus on walls that are constructed from the bottom up and where a stable backslope exists (at least temporarily) prior to wall construction. With poured concrete retaining walls, backfill is placed between the wall and the slope after the wall is constructed.
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