The Design and Construction of Precast Concrete Retaining Wall Blocks for Optimal Strength and Durability

A precast concrete retaining block wall surrounding the boarder of a residential backyard.

Installing a precast concrete retaining wall on your property means using it as a layer of protection and added privacy for your property. As such, the wall will have to stand up to impacts, high winds, and other external forces.

To that end, there are four primary parts of a precast concrete retaining wall that will reinforce its strength and ensure more reliable durability, including the following:

The Base Slab

The formation of the wall’s base slab consists of a heel and toe system that supports the wall’s framework. The toe serves as a cantilever beam and a solid base between the wall and the soil beneath the base. Steel beams reinforce the toe and the heel at both ends.

The base slab extends back as one continuous unit, providing a connection between the main steel reinforcement beams and the rear of the counterfort, providing stability and durability by bracing the support beams, which frame the precast concrete retaining wall blocks.

The Main Reinforcement Beams

Steel reinforcement beams anchor the base of the wall to the top T-bar, which runs along the top of each panel. The resulting structure efficiently protects the T-bar from bending under pressure or as the result of external forces. Impacts and strong winds, in particular, won’t adversely affect the panel’s durability, thanks to the support of the reinforcement beams.

The way in which the reinforcement beams are set to the base will also help the panel resist any blunt impacts lower on the wall. While a block or a series of blocks may need replacing, the panel as a whole segment will remain intact.

Wall Blocks

Once the reinforcement framework is in place, the precast concrete retaining wall blocks are ready for installation, which involves building the face for each wall panel one block at a time. It’s important to be aware of the fact that the installation of the blocks will proceed faster with solid blocks in the case that you have to choose between hollow blocks and blocks filled with gravel or another material.


Finally, the builder will install L-bars, which connect the precast concrete retaining wall blocks to the counterfort and further support the face panel, giving your retaining wall greater longevity. The L-Bars also provide better stability to the wall by adding support in weaker areas.

Once the full installation is complete, you can add more support for your retaining wall by building up a mound of soil, gravel, or riprap at its base. Doing so will also help you direct water flow away from the wall’s footing.

Start Planning Your Precast Concrete Retaining Wall

American Precast Concrete offers a wide range of precast concrete components to help you build a retaining wall, property barrier, or any other structure. We’re happy to discuss your residential or commercial needs, so contact us today.