We are building a gunite pool (roughly 20’x40’) on a sloped yard. It appears we will need a 70’x6’ retaining wall for our slope. One person that builds retaining walls suggested building the wall one foot below the pool deck (5’) and then adding dirt and covering the wall with dirt/sod so it’s hidden in the grassy slope. Interestingly, several homes in our neighborhood appear to have skipped a retaining wall completely and just added incredible amounts of dirt to deal with their sloped yards. If we build the concrete retaining wall, is it ok to landscape over it so it’s beneath the landscape?enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

  • This is something you have to have checked, underlying geology needs to be checked - the risk of failure or landslides could be significant. – Solar Mike Jun 7 '19 at 12:00
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Without a lot more info (e.g. a diagram) we wouldn't be able to help; I'm guessing we wouldn't be able to help even then. You probably need an engineer to look it over. – Daniel Griscom Jun 7 '19 at 12:11
  • The pool deck will sit 21” below the back porch and mostly run the length of the porch, which puts the pool deck 3.5’ above grade on the porch side and 5-6’ above grade on the rear end of the pool deck. This is where the retaining wall would be placed. Hope this makes sense! – Sarah Jun 7 '19 at 13:06
  • Are you asking whether concrete can be buried? Typically, yes. There's virtually no difference between that and an in-ground pool. That raises the question, though... If you're going to bury it anyway, why not just fill the area (like your neighbors) and avoid the need for a wall? If that's not what you meant, please revise to clarify. – isherwood Jun 7 '19 at 13:29
  • My recommendation is that you're going to want to get a Licensed Engineer who is experienced with this sort of project and is familiar with the conditions in your area to design and approve the needed support for your pool. – jwh20 Jun 7 '19 at 13:35

Covering concrete with soil will not affect the structural integrity of the concrete. If anything, doing so will enhance structural integrity because the soil will protect the concrete from the extremes of weather.

Building a 6' high retaining wall is not something you want to DIY. You really want the design (and probably the construction too) to be done by somebody with suitable liability insurance.

One point about covering the wall with soil, is that it allows the wall to be banked, rather than vertical. That will mean you can have a much less substantial wall.

  • Martin Bonner, thank you for your advice!! That’s helpful! – Sarah Jun 7 '19 at 14:56

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