Pros and Cons of Wooden Retaining Walls

Install wooden retaining walls at garden has multifunction: for beautifying garden to enhance your home landscaping and also to hold certain area with slope contour. There are advantages and disadvantages of this retaining wall type. Knowing disadvantages of wooden retaining walls will give you idea to anticipate some negative aspects in future.

Wooden Retaining Walls

Major Type

Commonly major type of wooden retaining walls fall into three materials used: timber, standard wood and railroad ties. There are two type of timber: rough timber and finished timber. Rough timber from its name has rough surface and popular used for building while finished timber has smooth surface. Example of rough timber is hardwoods and finished timber are cedar and pine wood.

ood Retaining Wall Ideas

Standard wood is likely similar to finished timber. Cedar and pine wood is generally used for this purpose. Both timber and standard wood has weakness for water influence.

If you look for the most durable wooden retaining walls material, so the last type, railroad ties is the perfect one. but beware of this material choice, because this wood contain toxic chemical.

Timber Retaining Wall

Beware of Three Things

Mainly problem of using wooden retaining walls come from termite, construction and water. Termite can be anticipated by choosing high quality wood. So pay attention to construction water, it’s the most enemy. Three problems related to these things are: number of deadmen, hydrostatic pressure and drainage problem.

Number of deadmen used for wooden retaining walls will determine how long this retaining wall will withstand for long time. Less number of deadmen will not able to hold all existing weight. After years this wood can crack. So specify the right number of deadmen when designing retaining wall by wood.

Hydrostatic pressure is the next problem. When soil has not good drainage, water from rain tend to collect behind this wood retaining wall and can increase hydrostatic pressure and can make this wood become rot and then crack.

The last thing is how you build your drainage. bad drainage construction will make this drainage system is fail to flow water, so increase moisture factor and hydrostatic pressure.

Pros and Cons

Good news, if you can build good wooden retaining walls, this retaining wall can be used for twenty years.


  • Affordable price to use wood as retaining wall.
  • Wood can bring natural atmosphere and enhance organic environment.
  • It’s not difficult to install it.


  • It’s not flexible to use wood if you plan to create unique design of retaining walls.
  • It’s less durable than metal and stone.
  • Less quality wood will not withstand for long time usage.

If you really want to use wood as retaining wall material, so think about all things above to get maximum benefits of wood using.