What You Need To Know About Fence Retaining Walls

In this post, we'll go into more detail about what retaining walls are and the different options available.
Shelby Robinson
Shelby Robinson
Last Update:
August 16, 2022

If your fence is along uneven terrain, you might need an integrated retaining wall. A retaining wall is used to keep soil back if there's a difference in height between yards, or other cases of uneven terrain. In this post, we'll go into more detail about what retaining walls are and the different options available for the fence on your property.

What is a retaining wall?

The main purpose of a retaining wall is to keep soil back and maintain a difference in ground level. Fences can be built on top of a retaining wall, which is referred to as a fence with an integrated retaining wall.

Retaining walls typically range from one to three feet in height. Three feet tall is the maximum height in most areas. Anything taller than this will require additional engineering, plans, and permits. 

It's important to note that a kickboard is not a retaining wall. A kickboard is designed to protect pickets from ground contact, but is not meant to keep soil back, and isn't strong enough to do so. You can learn more about kickboards here.

Wooden Retaining Wall

Wooden retaining walls use pressure-treated boards that are certified for ground contact and also require posts every three to four feet for extra support. Wooden retaining walls are best for flat properties. 

If you already have an existing wood retaining wall and replacing the fence on top, you'll also have to replace the retaining wall to ensure structural integrity.

Concrete Retaining Wall

Concrete retaining walls are more costly, but also significantly stronger than a wood retaining wall. There are two main types of concrete retaining walls, poured concrete and cinder block walls. 

Poured concrete is more expensive, but also slightly stronger than a cinder block retaining wall. In some cases, older concrete retaining walls can be re-used with a new fence, but it ultimately depends on the structural integrity. The wall would need to be inspected first before the decision could be made. 

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