2817 - 47th Street • Moline, IL 61265 (309) 762-6226

If you’ve ever tried to garden, maintain grass or plant shrubs on a slope, you’ll understand why retaining walls are so popular. You may even be considering adding one to your yard. Installing a retaining wall will help prevent soil erosion, give you more usable space for planting, add seating, and add attractive definition to your yard.

Adding a retaining wall is not as simple as stacking up some bricks and filling in behind them with dirt. We don’t recommend trying to install your own retaining wall for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that most DIYers lack the necessary skills to build for structural integrity. When you backfill with dirt, it adds a significant amount of weight and pressure to the wall. If it’s not installed correctly with appropriate calculations and a design plan, your wall could buckle or collapse. All it takes is a little rainwater to send an unstable wall tumbling. If you don’t account for proper drainage, you could experience washouts during big storms which will also cause your wall to collapse or buckle. Our winter freeze and thaw cycles in the Quad Cities could also affect the structure’s stability. Not to mention the safety risks—an unstable retaining wall may shift, buckle, or even collapse when someone is nearby, possibly causing an injury.

Retaining walls are a beautiful landscaping feature for your yard, but if done incorrectly, it will end up costing you more to clean up and replace. We have plenty of experience building retaining and accent walls, and we’d love to help you design one for your space.


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What is a Retaining Wall?

A retaining wall is a hardscaped structure that holds back soil. They prevent soil erosion, divert rainwater, create definition, and add more usable space. The most common types include:

Gravity walls can be straight or curved and are typically less than 4 feet tall. They are usually made of large, heavy interlocking bricks, or poured concrete frames. The wall leans back slightly into the dirt, using the weight of the bricks to resist the pressure from the backfill.

Cantilever walls work on the principle of leverage. They often look like an upside-down T, with support foundations going back underneath, and a little way forward, underneath backfill, to support the wall. Cantilever walls require less material and can be much taller, up to 25 feet.

Anchored walls have tension supports, usually cables, that are mounted into the slope and help hold the wall strong against the fill. Anchors can also be used as additional support for cantilever or gravity walls.

Not all walls will require engineering drawings. However, when in doubt, check with the municipality and ask the experts before you commission a project. The municipality requires a permit for retaining walls over 4 feet tall, so check with the city of Moline before you get started.


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Retaining walls need to be built with tough, long-lasting materials. Here are four of the most common options that we recommend.

Walls made from wood, usually heavy beams similar to railroad ties, are generally the most affordable, and they look great. You can even stain them to match outdoor decor themes. However, wood walls likely won’t last as long as brick or concrete ones will.

Natural Stone
Natural stone walls generally have a unique look with all the color and texture variations of each stone. Natural stone walls may be dry-stacked or mortared into place. Brick walls can also be faced with stone for a more natural look.

Brick walls are usually designed to be interlocking. The interlocking design adds strength to the wall. Bricks come in a variety of color and texture options. Brick walls create the look of clean, uniform consistency.

Poured Concrete
Poured concrete is a very customizable and strong option. The forms are custom built and can be shaped and tailored to the specific environment or style you have in mind. Concrete can also be finished in a variety of unique ways, and there are even ways to color concrete now. You can also opt for a concrete wall faced with natural stone.


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Retaining walls are super useful and come in tons of different styles. We’ve got tons of ideas at the garden center, and we can come up with a custom design to suit your yard, style, and budget. If you’re considering installing a retaining wall, make sure it’s done right to withstand whatever the Quad Cities’ weather will throw at it, from heavy rain to long winters.


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