What is a Battered Wall?

A battered wall is a common element in construction, and one which is most often found in an excavation environment. In simple terms, it is any kind of wall that has been built with an intentional slope; the word ‘batter’ in this context is an architectural term that refers to a particular type of angle.

It is said that the first battered walls were invented purely as a means of strengthening the outer fortifications of castles, towns and villages, ostensibly to prevent enemy forces from knocking down walls. Nowadays there are many different reasons as to why someone would wish to construct an intentionally sloping wall. They are often used:

  • to fortify foundations
  • as part of dry stone walls
  • in dam building
  • in modern military fortifications
  • to add aesthetic appeal to a commercial or residential property
  • in excavations

Building a Battered Wall

Battered walls can be constructed out of almost any type of material imaginable, as long as reasonable measures are taken to reinforce the sloping side of the wall. It used to be that battered walls would be constructed mainly out of brick or stone, but modern battered walls can be fashioned out of glass, metal, wood or man-made materials, and, depending on need, are capable of being incredibly lightweight and easy to install.

Building a battered wall requires a degree of know-how, as well as the right tools and materials for the job. The batter, or angle, of the wall, must be precisely calculated so as to ensure that the wall remains both upright and secure. An experienced construction engineer will be able to carry out such a task to a high standard, but a ley person might struggle. Nevertheless, battered walls can look marvellous in the right setting, and increasing numbers of people are choosing to include them in their property building or expansion plans. Mortarless masonry has become the material of choice for small projects, such as terraces, as it’s easy to use and looks well in a natural setting. For walls and small building projects, drystone is often the preferred choice. 

Using a Battered Wall for Retention

Battered walls provide a wide range of functionality, as well as aesthetic appeal. In fact, they’re often employed during construction projects to help hold back earth, both during excavations and for longer-term purposes. Superbly strong and aesthetically adaptable, they’re a great choice for construction projects where permanent excavation – such as might be required for large scale landscaping – is required