Building on A Hillside? A Guide to Segmental Retaining Walls and Why They Are Your Best Option

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Many Australian homeowners love to spend time outdoors enjoying the well-manicured yards and beautiful landscapes. However, if you own a hillside property, wouldn't it be nice to have a little extra space for your yard? Properties with significant elevation present many landscaping challenges, and finding a flat area for an outdoor garden or a sitting area can be extremely difficult. 

Thankfully, segmental retaining walls are here to help. Unlike your regular retaining wall, a segmental retaining wall is your best bet when you are looking to reclaim some space for your landscaping needs.

What are they, and how are they different? 

Segmental retaining walls consist of a large number of stacked concrete blocks that are used to provide a vertical front on otherwise higher and steeper ground. They include a unique construction of interlocking blocks to reinforce the earth behind the wall. The height of such walls is usually 12m and above, which is greatly larger compared to your regular 1- to 1.5m-high garden retaining wall. 

When building a home on significantly elevated ground, you will need adequate retention to prevent the slope from caving or sliding. Your regular brick or stone retaining walls are designed to hold soil behind them. However, segmental retaining walls are more desirable for an area possessing undesirable slopes where the landscape needs to be severely shaped for a specific purpose such as reclaiming space for building or farming purpose. They are ideal for retaining and stabilising the earth at any level and slope. 

Reasons to consider concrete segmental retaining walls. 

Reduced height limitations 

Blocks made from concrete can be customised to suit any shape while maximising your usable space. They offer heavier masonry blocks to accommodate increased heights. 

Add visual interest 

Concrete is a highly versatile material that can be used to create one-of-kind retaining walls. With the option of coloured concrete, you can easily transform your retaining wall to serve both your functional and aesthetic needs. 

You can even install lighting or integrate a vertical garden to your retaining wall to add interest to the overall property.


Concrete allows for rapid construction of the retaining walls since there is no need for concrete footing. Also, unlike stone that is much more costly and labour-intensive, construction of a concrete segmental retaining wall can be cost-effective and long-lasting. Concrete blocks can also be constructed to mimic natural or sculpted stone to suit your design.