sdaarchi SDA Architect Types of Retaining Walls in Architectural designs | SDA Architect
Interlocking retaining-wall

Garden Interlocking retaining-wall

Retaining walls

The basic function of retaining wall is to retain the earth slopes by 90 degrees “slope,”

whereas the earth natural has sloping sides naturally ,self retaining at 30 to 60 degrees, the slope depends on the property of the spoil.

reposing of slope and retaining walls principles

reposing of slope and retaining walls

Principles and Terminology

The function of the retaining wall is to retain the earth vertically rather than let the earth lie in its natural slope ranging from 0 degrees slope to 60 degrees. If the profile of slope is created by cutting the slopes of the earth the slopes angles may even be about 60 degrees. If the ground are hard the profile may be even 90 degree vertical, but unfortunately not all ground are made of solid rock, there for a retaining wall serves the purposes of creating a vertical wall.

*For slopes that are created by filling of the earth, the slope may be 45 degrees to 30 degrees. Again this slope has to do with the character and properties of the earth.

Retaining wall

Typical Retaining wall

 retaining wall details

concrete retaining wall details

Design Considerations

The retaining walls helps to resist the overturning, slipping of the earth. In designing the retaining walls, the following considerations will have to be considered:

  1. Nature and type of soil
  2. Height of the retaining walls
  3. The type of material the retaining wall is constructed off( eg concrete, timber shoring, steel shoring, stone walls, brick walls , keystone walls, etc
  4. The amount of water flow, or water content in the soil. The water table height is necessary as this will increase lateral pressure on the retaining walls

Types of retaining walls

There are about 5 types of retaining walls, namely:

1.Brick retaining walls

Wall constructed using brick wall, such as drainage, or wall which are cement rendered with stucco or rough finishes to create a special effect externally.

2.Concrete walls

Walls that are constructed using concrete, the height of these wall can be high, the only set back using this walls are the cost of construction and the spaces needed for shoring when constructing these walls is much as it goes higher,

3.Timber walls

The walls are usually used for gardens and is restricted to low walls only and if the ground conditions has a high water table the water may not be good for the wall durability.

Garden timber retaining wall

Timber retaining wall












4. Pre-cast crib retaining walls

crib retaining-wall

crib retaining-wall details

Crib wall are easy to construct and as it is pre-cast, there is no curing time and constructed with great speed and great heights. The low crib walls are also some time decorative and useful for gardens.

structural walls Gabion retaining wall

Gabion retaining walls

4. Gab-ion walls

Walls that are constructed with a foundation, and gab-ion cages made of gi mesh is filled with rubble stones, and for garden walls the colored stones are filled within the cages and hence it become decorative in nature.






Gabion retaining wall green w

Green Gabion wall

5.Steel wall, sheet piling walls

shoring earth

Sheet Pile for shoring earth

Sheet pile are driven into the ground to shore up the earth, usually used temporarily for construction of concrete wall or trenches, laying pipes etc, in some instances the sheet piles may be left as a permanent feature.








6.Geo-textile walls

Wall are constructed using the geo textile materials, the wall is created by wrapping the earth by the edges of the wall in layers and the geo-textiles sheets while holding the edges of the wall, also anchors the earth from slipping.

Geo- textile walls by Tencate

Tencate Geo- textile walls

These wall can get to 20 to 60 feet high or even more if it is staggered, and these wall can be hydro seeding with grass to create a green wall. The geo textile material are anchored into the earth as to anchor the slope from slipping.

7.Green walls ,architectural designs

These walls are decorative in nature but may be used as thermal insulating wall on buildings, where the theme is eco green buildings or eco green homes.

green walls

beautiful green wall

green images

green images

interior green wall

green wall

green walls 3

























block retaining wall
Garden block retaining wall details


eco sustainable home using photovoltaic solar panel

eco sustainable home

What is Eco Green Homes Design

An Eco Home is rating scheme in UK for encouraging low-impact on the environmental home designs and build homes using materials and technology that reduces its greenhouse effect and lowers its energy needs.It rating is based on Energy,Transport,Pollution,Water,Land Use and Ecology,Health and Well being and Management.
Going Green with homes are related to using material that affect the environment and energy savings, see the difference between Net Zero Energy Architect to Green solutions

Eco has reference to the ecological in the environment, therefore it is using the landscaping and green ecological strategies to enhance the environment’s sustainability.

Hence Eco Green House suggest that house that maintains the natural green environment in a house, applying the principal of reduce, recycle and reuse as in produce clean air, healthier environment, improving quality of water, more energy efficiency and minimize waste. green environmental design as in friendly and sustainable. The focus is in energy conservation, improving water and air quality and using building materials which helps to achieve these purposes of energy savings or improving water and air quality. so that we can lives well without needlessly damaging the environment using ecological strategies.

Types of Eco Green Homes

There’s two types of Eco Green house designs, namely:
Eco friendly house designs, Eco friendly home literally refers to minimizing harm to the environment by using eco friendly materials.
Sustainable Eco house designs , Sustainable Eco home means environment conscious design to comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability of the environment.

The Eco green home make use of the available resources such as wind, water and sun to lower the environmental impact and reduce the energy consumption.
For following instances are the case:

The main facade and the larger window should face at south during summers in the temperate areas And in the east, west and north have to place a few small windows to prevent heat loss. An the small opening have to be on the north side to help cooling.
In the tropics the FACADE should be aligned along the east west direction minimizing heat gain of the building and windows should be facing the rising sun and large window are avoided in the setting suns side of the homes.
Solar panels are also used to recycle the solar energy to produce electricity and hot water.
Use Natural day light harvesting will enable a savings of about 20% of energy bills.
Energy Efficient light fittings are also used in this Eco Green home design to save electricity. These may be high performance LED lights .


Eco Green Homes designs may use the cross ventilation by the prevailing winds to cool the house using a wind tunnel.
Mini wind turbine energy for residential use to produce electricity.Tubines can generate electricity where there is sufficient winds. Read on factors that make the wind turbine work.

Eco Green Homes are designed to collect rain water from the roof into drums or collection tanks and reuse it as portable water.How this is done may vary from one to another.
Bios-vales can also be used to collect water and to dispense the water a little by little for the landscape areas instead of running off tot the streams as this minimizes the flooding the rivers with run offs. This options also reduces the option to installing over-site water tanks to retain the overflowing of the streams.
Bios-vales can also be used a replacement for external drains as it will serve as a collection point and discharged or retained for future use.Remember that external drains if poorly built can breed mosquitoes and rats which can be a sources of spread of pest related diseases.
Bios-vales can also be used as underground retaining ponds and treated water can be recycled as drinking water. Contact us for more information on bios-vales
Waste water is also treated to produce clean and reusable water.

Other Factors for Energy Savings strategies in Eco Green Homes:

1)Insulating from the sun

Energy is saved on heating and cooling of house by insulating the walls and ceiling well. Super insulation of homes will keep the heat in during winters and keep the heat out during summers. Insulation acts as a barrier both against the undesired heat and cold air from outside and reduce possible leaks inside the home. With good insulation you can make financial savings of the energy bill up to 20-30%.

2)Thermal Zones

Materials that are used in Eco Green homes have walls of high thermal insulting character- high resistivity, and with an air chamber spaces created , to act as thermal zones to control the heat gain and lost of heat, such as Trombe Wall.
Glass walls are double glazing to give a greater insulation as the air in between the glasses are a good insulating matter . Besides, shading element for that house are important to prevent the unwanted heat gains.

Eco friendly and sustainable green house

3.)Eco strategies-Living Roof

Another good solution for improving thermal resistivity on roofs is to cover them with plants, or geothermal heating as it takes the advantage of maintaining the temperature that earth has thermal insulation, thermal inertia. This is called living roof, Living roofs are excellent noise insulators, reduce pollution from dust and other agents and provide a natural habitat for local fauna. The roof also collects the rainwater and processes the water clean for consumption, the water can be diverted into bios-vales.
Presence of plants ensures optimal air quality due to the purifying effect of the plant masses and many other benefits, Read the benefits of ecological strategies..

Eco-friendly  homes are homes that support the Green strategies.

4.)Renewable -Biomass Energy for Eco Green Homes

Biomass material available in the neighborhood can generate energy for heating and cooling the building. There’s many advantages to biomass. The Biomass Energy is cleaner than energy generated from fossil fuel oil and electricity, and from the environmental perspective the biomass stoves are less cleaner and less polluting than convectional energy from fossil fuel. It may be cheaper pending the sources of biomass.

5.)Green Material used in Eco Green Homes

Eco green home would mean a healthier home too as materials free of the volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde are used.Materials such paint solvents, glues, silicone, etc such as non-toxic materials, odorless paint and solvent-free materials free of the volatile which is harmful to occupants and the environment.

6.)Waste is reduced, recycled and reused in Eco Green Homes

. It has many benefits by minimizing waste. The designs are following the principles of reduce, recycle and reuse to produce a healthier, cleaner and better quality environment. This design can also provide a high energy efficiency living area, more valuable over long term, more delightful to come home.

Eco green home design principles are a new concept as a response to the demands of the global call for climate changes and climate warning. Hence this principle can be adopted into any homes styles such as modern green home designs, cottage green home designs and mountain green home designs.

Written by Winnie Kong. of Saito College and Ar Perumal Nagapushnam, Eco Green architect.