White Shield Inc has performed geotechnical investigations and retaining wall designs for numerous retaining walls for home owners, housing developers, and landscape contractors. Retaining walls may appear to be simple structures but an inspection of most retaining walls will reveal cracks, bulges, leaning, and blowouts. Retaining walls of poor structural design aren’t able to hold back the load behind it or they have poor drainage. Most city codes now require engineered walls for any walls four feet or greater in height. White Shield engineers perform geotechnical investigation and design to meet code requirements beginning with determining the soils suitability for a retaining wall. Given the nature of the soil, we will recommend excavation of unsuitable material to a firm base and prepare site plans and cross-section drawings for the new wall. Many walls are designed with a poured contract foundation or gravel base. The brick or blocks are placed on top of this foundation in configuration that creates an offset that leans into the hillside and secured with a “deadman”. Brick and block walls are cement and mortar type or stacked concrete blocks. Block and brick walls are also designed with a drainage system so that water may flow past or through the wall, so as to not undermine the structure. Wall designs can be made from rock boulders (commonly basalt rock in the Pacific Northwest), Ultrablock that range in sizes of 4’ x 6’, and segmented landscape brick walls. There are many types of block that are highly decorative that can be chosen to fit your landscape design. The final design and construction must allow support of the lawn, home, garage, or swimming pool that creates a lateral load on the wall. The engineered wall provides a safe and secure environment for many years for the home owners and surrounding community.