September 4, 2015

Retaining Wall Enemy #1

What is the number one cause of wall failure? Water

Ok…so maybe I should actually say improper water management is the #1 enemy and not just water.  Working as an engineer for Allan Block for almost 14 years I have been able to witness what to do and, obviously, what not to do when it comes to wall stability.  

Whenever, I see a wall failing or not performing properly the first question that pops into my mind is “Where is the water coming from and where is it going?” Finding the answer will often lead to discovering the wall problem.


The best thing for any wall is to handle the surface water that is pot initially above the wall.  Would you drain your entire backyard to the back side of your house?  Of course not, because this would lead to a very wet basement.  With any structure, you want to divert the water around it and not directly it over it.  This includes segmental retaining walls.  

The water should not be allowed to simply flow over the wall.  Simple berms and swales can be incorporated in the wall design and layout to prevent this from happening.  There is more information on our website, about proper water management, which would keep the enemy at bay.

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