Can A Retaining Wall Follow A Slope?

Retaining walls are to keep soil in one place, so they’re perfect for flower beds or ensuring your garden keeps the required soil in so it can thrive. These retaining walls are constructed in a very particular way though, so there are a lot of questions that need to be asked to ensure they are built correctly. One in particular that is frequently asked, is if the retaining wall can be built following a slope.

A retaining wall can be built on a slope and is actually required to be in order to support the soil. With the way that the soil moves and the moisture is dispursed, there is a slope that needs to be followed to ensure the wall doesn’t fall over and ruin your flower bed or garden.

Just knowing that a retaining wall should be built on a slope doesn’t mean much. You still need to know the why, how, and risk and reward from having a retaining wall.

Why Is A Slope Necessary?

A slope is necessary so that the wall doesn’t fall over. A wall that is at a slight slope is more likely to stay put, compared to a wall that is straight up and down.

For example, it is easier to push someone and have them fall down if they are standing straight up. When someone shifts their weight in a lunging, or sloping motion, it is more difficult to push that person over. The reason being, their center of gravity is shifted and disbursed throughout their entire body.

With a retaining wall, it is a very similar thing. When you have a wall of bricks that are straight up and down, it is easier to push over than a sloping or staggered wall. Plus, the locking flange that is on the bottom edge will help the brick lock into place and keep the bricks from tipping over.

How To Build A Retaining Wall

Knowing why you need to build a retaining wall at a slope is a good start, and here we will discuss how to put that knowledge into action and actually build it!

To start things off, your ground needs to be excavated. Meaning, your ground needs to be smooth and level. To do this, you need to have two stakes and tie a string at the same point on both stakes. After you’ve done this, take one of the stakes and hammer it in till the string hits the soil. Do this to the other side.

After you’ve done this, remove the top layer of soil to start with. With the top layer taken off, continue to remove the remaining soil to start fresh. You will then level out the soil and make sure that it will provide a stable base.

With the base now being stable, you will dig a 6-inch deep trench to help you drain the water that will be coming in. Fill this trench with gravel to help absorb the moisture. After this, have a 4-inch perforated drain pipe that connects from the top of the slope to the gravel to help with the draining of moisture.

Having all of this setup, you can then start adding soil. This will be done while laying down the brick for the retaining wall. When setting the bricks on the wall, ensure that the wall is sloped enough to create a minimum of 1-inch stagger for every foot that the bricks rise.

Benefits Of Having A Retaining Wall

By doing this, your retaining wall will be able to be efficient and give your yard the support that it needs. But what other benefits could come from having a retaining wall?


Along with being something that benefits the support and well-being of your yard, it can make your yard look GOOD! Getting the right height of your retaining wall, design, and bricks will help your yard have an attractive appeal to others. Something about these walls entices people to look at them and admire their natural aesthetic.

Adding Functional Space

Though hills and mounds can be beneficial and fun in their own way, having a flat, functional space for you and your family will benefit you in many ways. Your kids will have different and fun adventures, you’ll be able to have different areas for diverse things to do, and you’ll be able to look cool while doing it.

Preventing Soil Erosion And Flood Control

Erosion happens anywhere, but if we can reduce the amount of erosion that occurs I’m all for it. Retaining walls will be able to contain the soil which will, in turn, provide the necessary support to the soil, retaining walls also help reduce the surface runoff by reducing sharper gradients. This reduces the speed at which water travels over the surface and thereby reduces erosion.

Also, since retaining walls are sound, elevated structures at a sloped angle, they will help prevent flooding. These walls usually have some sort of drainage system with them, which will then cause the water to run off and prevent flooding from occurring.

Structural Support

This is more for areas that have hilly terrain. The retaining walls will keep the soil in place, making it have a sure foundation for your yard and house. So, if you live in an area where the soil tends to rain a lot and degrade the soil, the structural support that is found in a retaining wall would be almost required. This will keep you, your home, and your family safe.

Risks Of Having A Retaining Wall

There aren’t many risks that come with having a retaining wall. The main risk that would come with having a retaining wall would be if it falls. In the occurrence that the retaining wall falls, you will have a pile of spilled earth in your yard. This will then be costly money-wise with landscaping damage and repair costs.

Having this happen, however, is very rare. Those who build these retaining walls have been doing it for a long time, but accidents happen all the time so don’t be shocked if the wall does fall.

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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