Each type of retaining wall is designed to hold back soil and to prevent down-slope movement or erosion. Choosing the type that is right for your property depends on the amount of soil that needs to be retained. Stone and concrete are the most common materials, and there are special retaining wall blocks crafted from aggregate materials and light concrete which are designed for this purpose
Some styles interlock, making assembly simpler, less costly, and less time consuming because each block fits securely with the next. These blocks are designed to fit securely, and they do not require the addition of mortar. A retaining wall can also be a series of “steps” or tiers, which makes for a more attractive design and allows for more efficient erosion control.
The design can include different types of plantings, flowers or materials in each tier to bring more texture, color, and interest to the area. Aside from the aesthetic value, a tiered design provides better erosion control by breaking down the amount of soil, and therefore the pressure borne by each division of the retaining wall.
Large stones and railroad ties were often used to build a tiered retaining wall in the past. Today, there are many styles and types of retaining wall blocks, and most people choose preformed blocks. These blocks are affordable and easy to use, thus making other methods somewhat obsolete, unless the look of rough stone or wood is preferred for aesthetic reasons