While unreinforced masonry retaining walls may lack the structural complexity required for taller structures, they can be a practical and economical solution for short walls, providing effective soil retention in landscaping, garden terraces, or other applications where the height of the wall is minimal.
The primary function of every retaining wall is to resist the lateral forces from earth without any stability problems. The taller the retaining wall, the more likely that counterforts will become necessary to achieve stability. This article explains how to design a counterfort retaining wall.
Basement walls are essentially retaining walls which in most instances, in addition to the lateral forces from soil, pore pressure and surcharge must also carry axial forces due to gravity loads from slabs.