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Types of Retaining Walls

Besser Block Retaining Walls

Besser® Blocks are a popular choice for soil retaining walls or when a wall is required to level sloped land. Besser® Block retaining walls are mortared together, installed on a concrete footing and often used for engineered and load bearing walls where the blocks will be core-filled with grout and reinforced with steel. Due to the basic aesthetic appearance of the standard grey Besser® blocks, they will often be used only in applications where the wall will not be visible, or finished with render and paint on top of the Besser block. Retaining wall bricks are used in a similar way using a traditional brick unit which is mortared together to create a wall.

Segmental Retaining Wall Blocks

These retaining wall blocks are one of the best DIY retaining wall  systems you can buy. Segmental retaining walls “stack” together without the need for mortar, concrete or glue. These systems are installed onto a compacted road base levelling pad which is significantly easier to install than a concrete footing. Segmental concrete wall blocks come in a range of colours including black and cream, and there are different block face textures available including the traditional split face block.

These concrete retaining wall blocks come in different shapes and sizes, they can either be vertical (they stack directly on top of each other) or setback (they “lean back” each course the wall gets higher). The different types of retaining wall block systems can be built to varying heights. Some setback retaining wall blocks like Windsor Stone can be built to over 1 metre in height without reinforcement. Segmental walls connect using either a rear-lip connection or for premium systems like Adbri’s Versawall®, they interlock and stack together like children’s blocks.

Concrete Sleeper Retaining Walls

Concrete sleepers are a popular choice for low height, pure vertical garden walls. Sleeper walls have a small footprint meaning they can be installed in areas where space is tight. Concrete sleeper retaining walls are superior to timber sleepers because they are very durable and won’t rot. While concrete sleeper walls are effective for retaining soil, they can be difficult to install as the posts need to be as deep into the ground as the wall is high. Manually digging deep post holes and setting posts in concrete to be plumb can be difficult for most DIYer’s.

Retaining Wall Ideas

You’ve come to the right place for retaining wall ideas for backyard landscaping. Along with our expert and technical advice, Adbri’s retaining wall ideas gallery is a great starting point for inspiration for your retaining wall project. All of the ideas shown in these pictures can be created with Adbri retaining wall blocks.

Retaining Wall FAQs
  • What is a segmental retaining wall?

    A segmental retaining wall is a wall made of concrete blocks, designed to support soil. They provide a method of transitioning the land from one level to another, maximising the space and use of the area.

  • How high can retaining walls be?

    The height a retaining wall can be built to depends on the block used and how it is put together. All of our retaining wall blocks have a maximum unreinforced height, which is the highest you can build yourself without engineered reinforcement.

  • How do I build a retaining wall?

    Retaining walls are a great DIY project and can be completed over the course of a weekend. Refer to this step by step How to Build Retaining Walls Guide for more information.

  • What is the easiest retaining wall to build?

    For do-it-yourselfers, the easiest retaining walls to build are ones using concrete masonry blocks that are stacked no taller than 600mm.

  • What type of retaining wall is best?

    Concrete and masonry retaining walls have the best stability and durability. We have a range of concrete masonry retaining wall blocks that can be engineered with concrete core fill or No-Fines-Concrete.

  • Do you need Council permission to build a retaining wall?

    Local Council rules can differ throughout Australia. While most Councils allow you to build retaining walls up to 900mm without building approval, we recommend checking with your local Council to be sure.

  • Can you build retaining walls higher than the maximum unreinforced height listed?

    Some retaining wall blocks are able to be built over the specified maximum un-reinforced height, however, it is crucial that a certified engineer is used to design and assist in building these retaining walls.

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NT General Requests

Adbri Masonry products are not available in WA & NT. A limited range of Brighton Masonry products are sold available through Bunnings Warehouse.

For general WA & NT requests, please complete the form below.


Adbri Masonry products are not available in WA & NT. A limited range of Brighton Masonry products are sold available through Bunnings Warehouse.

For general WA & NT requests, please complete the form below.


Adbri Masonry products are manufactured and sold in Australia.
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For all other regions, please consult a local concrete paving manufacturer.

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Adbri Masonry products are not available in NT.
A limited range of Brighton Masonry products are sold available through Bunnings Warehouse.
For general NT requests

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