Create a free account and get instant & exclusive access to all that Decks.com has to offer:

Checkmark 1,000+ How-To articles
Checkmark 80+ Free Deck Plans
Checkmark Deck Planning Calculators
Checkmark Free & Simple Deck Design Tool
Ready to Start Your Project?

Building a Deck Near a Retaining Wall

If your footing locations will require you to dig next to a retaining wall, you will have to be very careful not to damage the wall. Disrupting the soil can cause a wall to cave in. This situation will usually require you to hand dig the footing. If you are digging above a retaining wall, you will have to dig deep enough to maintain the minimum frost depth away from the surface of the wall. This may result in digging some very deep footings.

All retaining walls have a system built into the wall construction that hides behind the wall. In a wood or timber retaining wall, you will see what is called a "deadman frame". These are members usually consisting of the same timber size that make up a skeletal frame backfill over the solid to keep the wall from bulging out or falling over. An interlocking concrete block wall will have a "geogrid" pinned into the wall over other course. These systems usually travel as far back as the wall is high, so if you plan to dig in these areas you will have problems.

Building a deck around a series of retaining walls can definitely present some problems. Under no circumstances should you ever consider setting a post on top of a retaining wall. The walls are not designed to resist this additional loading and could result in a catastrophic failure. Many of these problems should have been addressed during the design phase. Always use an extra degree of caution when working beside a retaining wall.

Concrete Retaining Wall
Concrete Retaining Wall

Here is an example of the construction of a concrete foundation retaining wall.  It is important to be careful while building a deck near an existing or new retaining wall to prevent damage or a collapse.


Popular Footings Articles
Concrete

Cutting a Concrete Pad

Learn how to use a concrete saw to cut a hole in a patio slab to install a deck footing.

Footing Types

How to Install & Build Deck Footings

Learn how to install concrete footings to properly support your deck. Watch our step-by-step foundations video.

Concrete

Protecting From Collapse

Learn how to use cardboard sonotubes and hole covers to protect your deck footing holes from caving in and flooding before pouring concrete.

Next Step: Framing Articles
Deck Support Columns

How to Decorate Deck Support Columns

Browse some examples of decorative deck support posts for tall decks.

Deck Framing

How to Build a Multi-Level Deck

Multi-level decks are very popular. Learn how to build a deck that steps up or down using shared posts and footing connections.

Deck Framing

Building a Deck Around a Tree

Learn how to build a deck around a tree to allow the tree to grow and not damage its root system while digging footings.

Get more helpful resources delivered right to your inbox
More Helpful Resources

Explore Articles by Topic

Create a free account and get instant & exclusive access to all that Decks.com has to offer:

Checkmark 1,000+ How-To articles
Checkmark 80+ Free Deck Plans
Checkmark Deck Planning Calculators
Checkmark Free & Simple Deck Design Tool
Concrete

Building a Deck Near a Retaining Wall

If your footing locations will require you to dig next to a retaining wall, you will have to be very careful not to damage the wall. Disrupting the soil can cause a wall to cave in. This situation will usually require you to hand dig the footing. If you are digging above a retaining wall, you will have to dig deep enough to maintain the minimum frost depth away from the surface of the wall. This may result in digging some very deep footings.

All retaining walls have a system built into the wall construction that hides behind the wall. In a wood or timber retaining wall, you will see what is called a "deadman frame". These are members usually consisting of the same timber size that make up a skeletal frame backfill over the solid to keep the wall from bulging out or falling over. An interlocking concrete block wall will have a "geogrid" pinned into the wall over other course. These systems usually travel as far back as the wall is high, so if you plan to dig in these areas you will have problems.

Building a deck around a series of retaining walls can definitely present some problems. Under no circumstances should you ever consider setting a post on top of a retaining wall. The walls are not designed to resist this additional loading and could result in a catastrophic failure. Many of these problems should have been addressed during the design phase. Always use an extra degree of caution when working beside a retaining wall.

Concrete Retaining Wall
Concrete Retaining Wall

Here is an example of the construction of a concrete foundation retaining wall.  It is important to be careful while building a deck near an existing or new retaining wall to prevent damage or a collapse.


Popular Footings Articles
Concrete

Cutting a Concrete Pad

Learn how to use a concrete saw to cut a hole in a patio slab to install a deck footing.

Footing Installation

Can I reuse existing footings

Our inspector discusses the topic of reusing footings for a new deck.

Concrete

Working With Concrete

Learn tips from the pros on how to mix and pour concrete for deck footings.

Next Step: Framing Articles
Deck Support Columns

How to Decorate Deck Support Columns

Browse some examples of decorative deck support posts for tall decks.

Deck Support Columns

How to Use Shared Load Deck Support Posts

Learn how to support an upper and lower deck using one support post and a larger footing by bolting the lower deck into the side of the post.

Deck Support Beams

How to Nail a Deck Beam

Learn how to nail a beam together. How many nails should you use? What type of nails should you use?

Get more helpful resources delivered right to your inbox

Explore Articles by Topic

More Helpful Resources