How To Build A Cinder Block Retaining Wall

Building a retaining wall is an easy and inexpensive way to add value to your home, but it can also be an intimidating project. This guide will walk you through the process of building a cinder block retaining wall, from planning to installation. Building a cinder block retaining wall is a fairly straightforward project. You can follow these steps to build your own, but be sure to read through the whole guide before you start so you know what supplies you’ll need and how much time the project will take.

Cinder blocks are a great way to build a retaining wall because they’re inexpensive and easy to work with, but they can be challenging to stack, especially if you’re on an uneven surface. Cinder blocks are a common material for building retaining walls. They’re easy to use and relatively inexpensive, but you do have to take some precautions when you build one.

Cinder block retaining walls are often used for yards that are sloped. These walls hold back the earth behind them and prevent the soil from sliding down a slope. If you’re considering building one, you’ll need to know how to plan and install it properly. That’s where we come in! We’ve created this handy guide to cinder block retaining wall construction to help you get started:

1. Preparing for Construction

Before you start construction, there are a few things to think about.

  • Make sure you have the right tools for the job. Your best bet is to buy a power drill, masonry bits and manual saws for cutting blocks and rebar (the steel rods that will reinforce your foundation). You’ll also need an impact hammer to pound in any steel reinforcement rods.
  • Buy enough materials to complete your project without having to make multiple trips back and forth from the store or storage unit. Having too few materials can lead to costly delays in construction because it means having to go get more supplies each time something runs out—and away from home is not where you want to be when trying out this method of building.
  • Find a space where you can work on constructing your retaining wall without disturbing other people’s houses or property lines and causing damage if something goes wrong during construction. If possible, find an open area with lots of room so that nobody will be able to see what’s going on over by another house (and vice versa), but if there isn’t one available near your home then just do what needs done: build it somewhere else.

2. Marking the Wall

First, you will need to mark the wall. When marking your cinder block retaining wall, it is important to keep in mind that you are marking at the top of the ground and not at the top of the wall. You will also want to mark at the bottom of your wall, not at the bottom of your ground.

When you are marking your cinder block retaining wall, it is vital that you do so with care and attention to detail.

3. Setting Foundational Blocks

  • Setting Foundational Blocks

Once the footing is set, it’s time to fill in the gaps with foundational blocks. These are also called “course” or “batter” blocks, and they’re shorter than the capstones that will ultimately rest on top of them. You’ll need enough of them to reach from one end of the ledge up to about two-thirds or three-quarters of your wall’s height, so make sure you’ve got a good sense for how tall your retaining wall will be before purchasing any materials.

Cinder Block Foundation Blocks can be used as part of a retaining wall system if properly installed and secured into a concrete base structure below ground level. They should be used around areas where there is no soil present (i.e., rocky) because they have been pre-dry-cured before shipping so they don’t leech moisture when exposed to air during installation like concrete may do over time due to water absorption by other types such as portland cement etcetera).

4. Laying Row of First Course Blocks

Next, you’ll lay a row of cinder blocks. Make sure that they’re level and square as you place them; if they’re not, you won’t be able to build this retaining wall. The blocks should also be straight. You can use your level to check this as well as the right-angled corner of each block in your first course (where it meets the ground). If there’s any deviation from that perfect 90-degree angle, remove and replace it with a new block so everything remains aligned correctly.

5. Creating Drainage Channels and Filling with Gravel

Next, you will need to create drainage channels. These are necessary in order to prevent water from pooling at the bottom of your retaining wall. Gravel is a good material for drainage channels because it is cheap and easy to find. It’s also easy to install, which makes it an excellent choice for DIY projects like this one.

6. Continuing to Lay the Next Courses of Blocks

Now that you’ve laid the first course of blocks, it’s time to continue laying the rest of your retaining wall. The best way to do this is by making sure you’ve got a level and tape measure handy. First, make sure that the block closest to you (the one with the lowest number) is level before adding any more blocks on top of it. Once your bottom course has been laid completely, use your tape measure to check how high up the cinder blocks need to be in order for them all to be at level height when they’re connected together as one unit.

Next, follow these steps:

  • Place one end of an 8-foot board alongside an edge where two courses meet and make sure it’s parallel with both layers
  • Check whether this creates an even line across both surfaces (if not, adjust accordingly)

7. Laying the Top Course and Backfilling

At this point you’re almost done building your cinder block retaining wall. The last thing to do is lay the top course and backfill. Before you begin, make sure you have all of the tools, materials and measurements for this step on hand.

  • Tools: shovels, wheelbarrows (you’ll be moving a lot of dirt)
  • Materials: soil for backfill (loose gravel works best)

You can build your own cinder block retaining wall to prevent soil erosion, create a raised garden bed, or build a strong and durable support structure in your yard.

Cinder blocks are an excellent choice for building a retaining wall because they’re easy to use, affordable and very durable. Cinder blocks are hollow on the inside which allows you to easily fill them with dirt and/or gravel if you want to create a raised garden bed or raise the height of your existing garden by several inches.

Cinder blocks come in all shapes and sizes so there are plenty of options when deciding how best to design your structure. You can purchase cinder block kits that include everything needed (including anchor bolts) or if you’re feeling handy enough, just go out and buy yourself some cinder blocks.


If your yard is on a slope or has uneven ground, then you may want to consider building a retaining wall. Retaining walls help create flat spaces that are usable for playing or gardening. While your yard may seem like an odd shape now, with the help of some simple materials and instructions from this article, you can transform it into something beautiful.

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