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Fixing a bowed/cracked brick retaining wall

I would like to fix a bowed/cracked outdoor retaining wall. Is there a relatively simple DIY solution for this?

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Posted 2016-05-07T21:03:26+0000  by bginmd bginmd
Hi bginmd,

Thanks for your question and welcome to the community.

I would first carefully remove the dead leaves (thanks for upload the pic btw, this makes it easier to see what you are dealing with) around the dirt side and inspect how damaged everything is.

At this point, you can choose to excavate the wall around it while supporting the wall using bracing from wood and/or concrete/bricks to prevent it from falling over. 

The culprit may be a root system underneath or a vehicle that previously hit the wall, but you can only fix this by first getting to the other words, digging to where the lean is occurring.

Throughout the years, water damage can also wreak havoc, allowing cracks and damage to occur during freezes.

Once you view the damage under the soil, only then can you view if it's better to repair or replace the wall. If the underside damage is too great, it will seem like more work now, but in the long run a simple 'cutting corners' job without fully addressing the base damage could actually make things worse in the long run.

A 'simple DIY solution' is relative only to your skill set and budget, but it can be repaired if the damage isn't severe.

Let us know if you have any additional questions,

Posted 2016-05-09T14:30:31+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Hello bginmd and welcome to the Community.


The most important single consideration in wall design is insuring good drainage. In addition there are also problems of using bad backfill materials without taking precautionary measures against built–up of hydrostatic pressure by provision of drainage.


Lack of drainage and the compression of the backfill has created a great amount of hydrostatic pressure. What I see is that between the house wall, the front stoop, stairs and the retaining wall, the retaining wall is the weakest link. 


French drains are used behind retaining walls to relieve ground water pressure.  A French drain is a trench filled with gravel or rock or containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from an area.


I do not believe that shoring up the existing wall will be a long term fix.  You must correct the underlying problem,- drainage.


I believe that the wall needs to rebuild on a stable footing and with proper drainage system implemented.  In your situation you may need a buildup of gravel by the footing and drain pipe (weep hole) through the wall at its base, to channel the water to the outside.


Thank you for your inquiry.



Posted 2016-05-10T17:35:45+0000  by Char_HD_CHI
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