If you’re like me, you love the look of a block retaining wall. You may not be so crazy about the work required to build one, though. Installing a block retaining wall yourself can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. But with some careful planning and expert instruction, it’s entirely doable for anyone who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Laying blocks is hard work, but it’s also satisfying to watch your creation take shape as you go. A finished block retaining wall can give your house a whole new look and add value to your property.
Step One: Excavate
- Excavate the trench
Exact measurements are not crucial, but you want it to be wide enough for the block retaining wall and deep enough for the block retaining wall plus at least one layer of topsoil, or whatever material you are using in your flower bed. The width should be at least 2 feet (60 cm) wider than the blocks themselves (for example, if your blocks are 8 inches wide on each side, then make sure that your trench is at least 10 inches wider than that). The depth should be about 4 inches deeper than the height of your blocks (which will allow for drainage).
- Remove topsoil and roots
Remove any topsoil from around this area as well as any roots from trees or shrubs that could interfere with building your project.
Step Two: Make a few key decisions
You’ve got to choose between a concrete cap or masonry cap. For example, a concrete cap is usually made of stamped concrete, while a masonry cap is usually made of brick or stone veneer (which look great when stained).
When deciding which one to use, consider the look you’re going for and how much money you want to spend. A concrete retaining wall will cost more than a block retaining wall because it’s more durable, but it won’t be as expensive as installing pavers or bricks in your flower bed.
In addition to choosing between these two options, you also have to decide whether or not you want to include edging along your flower bed’s perimeter (or “footing”). The footing can either be made out of block edging or poured concrete for extra stability under heavy loads like soil and plants.
Step Three: Lay the first course of blocks
Before you lay the first course of blocks, it’s important to make sure they’re level. There are multiple ways to check this:
- You can use a level and make sure each block is parallel with the ground.
- Or, you can use a chalk line (or string) and have someone hold one end while you walk along with the other end until it touches every block at least once before moving on to the next row.
- If your retaining wall is long enough, invest in an electronic laser level that will let you know whether or not your blocks are level from far away so there’s no need for backtracking or additional measuring.
Step Four: Fill the wall with crushed stone
Now that you’ve got a wall and a floor, it’s time to fill the wall with stone. For this step, you will need:
- Hand trowel and shovel
- Stone (crushed granite)
The amount of stone needed depends on the height of your retaining wall. You can find out how much you need by measuring its height in feet and multiplying that number by 4 inches. The resulting figure is how many pounds of stone are needed for your project. The next step is to fill the wall with these rocks by hand trowel or shovel until it reaches ground level or slightly below. Compacting this stone will help keep it from falling out over time as well as give your flower bed added stability once filled with soil and plants later on down the line.
Step Five: Backfill
Once you’ve finished laying the blocks, it’s time to backfill the wall with soil. To start, use a wheelbarrow to transport a pile of soil from your yard over to where your block retaining wall will be built. Next, using a shovel or pitchfork, spread some of that soil onto the top of each block and use your hands to pack it down tightly. You can also use a rake at this point in order to level out any high points or low points in between your blocks if needed (you may need additional soil if you do this).
Once all surfaces are level and packed down tightly, wet down each layer with water so that they begin sticking together better and making sure they stay nice and straight while they dry out overnight. Finally, remove any excess dirt by raking through all layers again before packing everything down once more with some extra hands-on pressure—this should make everything feel solid enough for landscaping efforts later on.
Step Six: Turf and Planting Area
- Use the same turf and plantings as you would for the rest of your yard. Turf is generally easier to maintain than plants, but both have their merits. If you’re unsure which to choose, a good rule of thumb is that if you want a low-maintenance flower bed, use turf; if you like to spend time working in your garden, go with plants.
- Planting flowers or shrubs is optional—you don’t need them at all! But if you do decide to add some greenery, keep in mind that they may need more watering than what your main lawn receives. The key thing here is not to let anything grow too large: it will crowd out other plants and make mowing more difficult (and potentially damaging). Also watch out for weeds.
Decide on a concrete cap vs. masonry wall cap stones.
You can choose to cap your retaining wall with either concrete stones or masonry caps.
- Concrete cap stones are cheaper, but they don’t look as attractive and can be more difficult to install. You’ll also need to use a diamond blade on your saw so you can cut the blocks cleanly without breaking them.
- Masonry cap stones are more expensive and require more skill to install properly, but they will give a beautiful finished product that will last for many years.
Use block edging as an alternative to a retaining wall.
Block edging is a low-cost alternative to a retaining wall. It’s easy to install and can add a decorative touch to your yard or garden. Block edging is quick and easy, so it’s also a good choice if you’re on a tight budget.
The main advantage of block edging over other types of retaining walls is that it doesn’t require any major excavation work, which means there will be no need for an expensive contractor or special equipment like jackhammers or shovels.
A retaining wall flower bed can provide a wonderful focal point for your yard or garden.
A retaining wall flower bed can provide a wonderful focal point for your yard or garden. A retaining wall flower bed can add a lot of character to your yard, and help you make the most of a small space. It can also be used to create a seating area, making it perfect for those who want something that is both functional and beautiful. A retaining wall flower bed is an excellent addition to any home or business and should be considered by anyone looking to develop their property.
Building a block retaining wall flower bed is not an overwhelming task, and one that you will find rewarding. Take your time and enjoy the process of building something permanent to admire for years to come.