Building a retaining wall is not as easy as it might seem. The wall will have to hold back tons of soil and rock for years to come. Poor backfill considerations, inappropriate drainage, and foundation issues can all lead to retaining wall failure over time.

Retaining wall engineering takes all these considerations into account. A qualified structural engineer knows the formulas and has the tables to ensure the longevity of your wall.

There are many retaining wall designs. You can choose a wall finish from a vast range of colors and designs. Aesthetics aside, it is the retaining wall engineering that contains the real complexities. This is design of the wall that takes into account the drainage and load strength.

Unless your retaining wall design takes into account all the surrounding environment and load factors, it may fail in the future.

Here are a few of the factors that affect the design of the retaining wall.

Factors Affecting Retaining Wall Engineering


  • The slope above and below the retaining wall
  • Surcharge loading
  • Other buildings on the site
  • Above and below ground facilities
  • Amount of local moisture
  • State and local authority requirements
  • Types of soil

Load factors

  • Surcharge loads
  • Hydrostatic loads
  • Weather and seismic activity

Retaining Wall Engineering Design Factors

  • Length and height
  • Surcharge requirements
  • Drainage
  • Aesthetics
  • Construction safety issues

It is a mistake to underestimate the complexity of retaining wall engineering. Engineers must take all these factors into account and weigh up the complete picture as some factors may influence others.

A licensed engineer will know what building regulations apply and will ensure that your plans comply with any local municipal and county regulations. These may vary depending on where you’re building your retaining wall.

If you’re thinking of improving your property by levelling your land and building a retaining wall, contact us with any questions you may have, or place your order for us to provide you with your engineering retaining wall design.