How To Build A Landscape Block Retaining Wall

You can build a landscape block retaining wall in a weekend. The most important thing is to plan your project before you begin.

A landscape block retaining wall is an efficient way to create a level surface for planting beds and vegetable gardens. It’s also a great way to add some visual interest to your yard or garden. The design of the wall can be customized to match your decor or style, and it can be made from materials that are readily available at most hardware stores

Retaining walls are a great way to create dimension in your backyard by adding layers of color, texture and even scent. They’re also handy for controlling erosion, leveling a slope or framing flower beds. Retaining walls can be made from interlocking blocks, poured concrete or stacked stone or brick. In this article, we’ll cover building a landscaping block retaining wall. The instructions below assume you’re working with interlocking blocks that have flanges on the bottom that lock into the top of the blocks in the next course (layer).

Step 1: Excavate the site for the retaining wall

Step 1: Excavate the site for the retaining wall. The first step in constructing your outdoor retaining wall is to excavate a level base for it. The amount of excavation depends on the height of your wall, so if you’re building something as tall as 10 feet, you’ll need more space than if it’s only 6 feet high. In general though, it’s best to keep walls at least 6 inches below ground level so they can withstand heavy rains and snow melt without being undermined by water erosion.

You should also consider how deep into your property line this excavation needs to go—in many cases (especially where there are trees or other obstacles), this may mean digging down several feet beyond where your finished retaining wall will be located. This helps prevent roots from growing into or through your structure later on and causing structural damage over time (e​xcept not).

If possible, try not machine-digging out these areas; instead use hand tools such as shovels and pickaxes because they’ll allow you more control in making sure everything stays level throughout construction—and who doesn’t want that?

Step 2: Add a layer of landscape fabric

We recommend using landscape fabric to prevent weeds from growing through the wall, as well as to prevent erosion. It’s also helpful in keeping the blocks from shifting. Landscape fabric is more durable than mulch and doesn’t require any additional tools or equipment to install, making it an easy choice for your DIY project.

Step 3: Prepare the base for the retaining wall

After you’ve decided on the type of block or brick you want to use, it’s time to prepare your foundation. The base for your retaining wall can be made from a variety of materials. Most homeowners choose concrete blocks, square-edged bricks, pavers or stone. Here are some tips for building a solid base:

  • Use concrete blocks that have hollow centers so they’re lighter than solid ones but still strong enough to hold up your retaining wall.
  • Set the blocks in mortar and spread out their weight evenly across the surface of the ground by placing them at least 1/2 inch apart from each other when laying them down on top of each other in layers (you’ll need one layer at a time).
  • Use pressure-treated lumber such as cedar if you’re worried about rot causing problems with drainage; this type will last longer than regular wood due to its waterproof coating which prevents rot damage caused by moisture getting into cracks between pieces of wood (think about what happens when rain falls onto leaves).

Step 4: Set the first course of blocks on concrete

  • Use a level to ensure that the first course is level.
  • Set the first course onto concrete with a CMU. Add concrete to fill in all areas between blocks and set the CMU in place.
  • Use a shovel to spread out the wet concrete into a flat layer across your block wall, then smooth it with a trowel or steel float.

Step 5: Stagger the joints in each course

The joints or spaces between the blocks are staggered in each course. This creates visual interest, and also makes the wall more stable.

A great way to stagger the joints is to place one block next to another, then set a third block at an angle on top of it so that it fits into both sides of the first two blocks like a puzzle piece.

Step 6: Continue building up the retaining wall, using cap blocks to finish off the top course

Once you’ve built up the height of your retaining wall, you’ll need to attach cap blocks to finish off the top course. These caps should be cut with a 45-degree angle on each side and shouldn’t be nailed in place until after they’re level with the rest of the wall.

To ensure that the top course is straight and level, use one or more of these tools:

  • A level (you can purchase one online or at any hardware store)
  • A string line (a tool used by masons)
  • A laser level (this will help ensure accuracy without having to use a plumb bob every time).

A landscaping block retaining wall is a great way to add some dimension and texture to your backyard.

A landscaping block retaining wall is a great way to add some dimension and texture to your backyard. This guide will explain the basics of building one, from planning through installation.


These steps are fairly straightforward and simple, so you should be well on your way to building a retaining wall that can last for years. The most important thing is that you get the base right and use a level throughout the process. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below.

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