Does a Retaining Wall Need Foundations

Does a Retaining Wall Need Foundations

With many structures, foundations are a key component to ensure the longevity and security of the structure. Are retaining walls an exception to this rule?

This blog will explore the question ‘Does a retaining wall need foundations?’ In addition to exploring additional questions that could help you build a retaining wall.

At PPC Concrete Products, we are here to provide solutions for your construction needs, from the person working on their part-time project to commercial clients, and everyone in between.

Monthly construction output had risen an estimated 1.6% value in June 2023, and we would like to think our accessible concrete products had a small part to play by giving our clients easy access to reliable and easy-to-use construction solutions.

Providing Interlocking Concrete Blocks, Retaining Walls, and Jersey Barrier Blocks, PPC is the trusted option when it comes to concrete products and their applications.

Retaining walls explained

What can be used for a retaining wall?

The purpose of a retaining wall is in the name. But what exactly is this wall retaining?

Retaining walls are generally used on lands that have slopes, they are used to effectively remove the slope, creating a wall in-between, which can vary in size from a metre, to a few feet!

Without retaining walls, a sloped area of land can be a health hazard in public areas and some gardens. In the case of a garden, a slope can make it an inconvenience to navigate. Here are some of the key benefits of retaining walls.

  • It organises the space which can allow for further installations.
  • It can help to maintain health and safety.
  • It can be used to create pathways that were not available or viable before the wall was made.
  • If installed correctly, it can promote healthy drainage of rainwater, which prevents large puddles from forming.
  • Creates an organised aesthetic.

Drainage for retaining walls

All retaining walls should have drainage. Drainage is typically located at the bottom of the retaining wall. It comes in the form of a pipe layered below gravel or other landscape fill, which itself is below the topsoil of the slope the retaining wall was made for.

As rain falls upon the soil, it travels through it, it then travels through the gravel, until it reaches the pipe and drains to the exit that the pipe directs it to. Without drainage, retaining walls will be under a greater amount of weight provided by the rain, in addition to the weight already being supported by the retaining wall.

As a result of the additional weight on the retaining wall, you will find that it bulges or leans over. You may also find that it is leaking, or has puddles at the top of the retaining wall.

What makes a bad retaining wall?

A bad retaining wall is one which can not support the area it was designed to. There are the signs of a badly constructed retaining wall.

If left unattended, the issues caused by a bad retaining wall will result in it toppling, this can cause a severe injury or worse depending on the location, and who is in the vicinity.

What happens if my structure doesn’t have foundations?

What happens if my structure doesn’t have foundations?

Most structures require foundations to ensure they are built on something stable. This allows for the structure not to be compromised by certain issues. If you make a structure on land that has no foundations, you are at the mercy of the surrounding land, whether it is affected by weather, natural changes and more.

Foundations ensure that the structure being built is secure. In most, if not all cases, this begins by ensuring the land being built upon is completely flat. This stops the structure from being imbalanced and having the potential to slant or fall.

Do I have to make foundations myself?

Not at all. Foundations can be created by the landscapers/builders you choose to use. In some cases, depending on the structure, they will not proceed unless a foundation is placed. Any reputable builder, landscaper, or building professional will never compromise their career and reputation by overlooking health and safety requirements.

Do foundations have to be done by hand or machine?

This depends on the depth required for your project. If it is substantial, or over a large area, the likelihood of an excavator being used is high. This saves time and manpower to dig up the foundations.

However, in most cases, foundations are created by a blend of machinery and good old-fashioned elbow grease!

Does a retaining wall need foundations?

Does a retaining wall need foundations?

Depending on the material you use to construct your retaining wall, you may need to create foundations for it. This is also applicable to uneven land. If your retaining wall is wooden, for example, the posts that will connect the wooden planks to form the wall must have a sturdy and reliable foundation. This usually involves digging a hole, placing the post and pouring cement into it.

An example of a retaining wall material that doesn’t typically require foundations are Interlocking Concrete Blocks. This is due in-part to the immense weight of Interlocking Concrete Blocks.

Interlocking Concrete Blocks are a building solution that can be used in a variety of situations over traditional brick and mortar builds, and builds that use other materials. Interlocking Concrete Blocks contain studs and recesses at the top and bottom of the block respectively that allow them to join together without the need for mortar to bind them.

The hold provided by the blocks is almost impossible to detach without the use of heavy machinery. Furthermore, due to the durable nature of concrete, you can use these blocks to create structurally sound, reliable and durable structures that are weatherproof, and extremely heavy.

In some instances, depending on the size of your retaining wall, having some foundations may prove to be helpful. In some instances, the weight being held by the retaining wall can increase largely when the land is wet.

Are Interlocking Concrete Blocks only used for retaining walls?

Not at all. Interlocking Concrete Blocks have a large variety of uses. Here is a list of some of the uses that Interlocking Concrete Blocks can facilitate.

  • Material Storage bays
  • Blast walls
  • Salt stores
  • Crash protection
  • Push walls
  • Security barriers
  • Segregation bays, i.e. recycling centres
  • Industrial buildings
  • Fire breaks
  • Counterweights
  • Roadblocks

Are retaining walls only for gardens?

No. Retaining walls can be applied in any space where there is sloped land. It is not only reserved to gardens. In public areas, you must acquire the relevant permissions before construction. This is also applicable to your garden, in certain situations.

Retaining walls can be an excellent addition to nature reserves and public walkways in nature. It helps maintain and protect the surrounding environment and attendees by making sure the walkway is as safe as possible, without removing the natural beauty of the area.

Invest in a retaining wall today

Are retaining walls necessary?

As an established supplier all over the UK, PPC Concrete Products is always happy to help, which is why we encourage you to get in touch with any questions you may have or have a look at our FAQ.

In this blog, we hope to have answered the question ‘Does a retaining wall need foundations?’

Take a read of our case studies to truly understand how we have provided solutions for business in the past with the use of our interlocking concrete blocks, and ultimately, how we can help you today.

Read our blog page for more insights into our passion, construction.


The Old Gasworks,

Higginshaw Lane,




Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday – 8 AM until 4 PM

Tel: 01706 655245


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google