I’m trying to fix a 10 years old sloped leaning retaining wall on the side of the house. I have done a lot of research and the causes can be summarized as follow:

  • Improper drainage that cause hydrostatic pressure.
  • Wall base issues.

Retaining wall dimensions:

  • Almost 4 feet wide(between the house foundation and the wall itself).
  • Highest point is almost 2 feet
  • 38 feet long.

I took down part of the wall to inspect it. I found NO drainage stones behind the wall. The wall base seems to be solid. I found geotextile fabric. My best guess it was used to separate the soil from the wall block.

Based on my research, retaining walls less than 4 feet in height generally don’t require a French draining system.

If the cause of leaning is hydrostatic pressure, does it have an impact on the house foundation as well?

What’s the recommended DIY approach to fix this wall?

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1 Answer 1


Most likely it was put in place and held straight by gravity. Over the years, just the weight of the dirt pressing into the side of the wall has caused the wall to start to slope. This is almost assuredly the situation, and especially if you don't find any grid work or other stabilizing material going out into the higher dirt side of the wall. For a 2 foot high wall with that bottom contour to keep them from sliding against each other, I'd actually be shocked if there was any sort of stabilizing material there.

The only real fix will be to take it down and rebuild it with wall stabilization into the hillside to keep the wall from kicking out due to ground pressure in the future.

  • Can you elaborate on the wall stabilization on the hillside?
    – Henry
    Aug 5, 2023 at 13:46
  • There are a few ways to stabilize. One, you can simply stake the face of the wall. Two you can install tiebacks—basically horizontal(ish) members that hold the wall in place from soil friction.
    – Huesmann
    Aug 5, 2023 at 15:01

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