If your yard has a slope that’s too steep to plant flowers or shrubs, building a landscape wall is one of the best ways to use it, and it’ll add even more character to your yard. Whether you’re doing this project yourself or hiring someone to do it for you (which we recommend), here are all the steps needed for building a landscape wall with blocks.
Determine the perimeter of your wall.
- Measure the length of your wall.
- Measure the width of your wall.
- Measure the height of your wall.
- Measure the depth of your wall (the distance between the bottom and top of a block).
- Calculate how many blocks you will need by multiplying length x width x height x depth / 4
You have now determined how many blocks you will need to complete this project, but what about mortar? You’ll want at least twice as much mortar as there are blocks, so that’s another calculation to make:
Dig a trench for the blocks.
To begin, you’ll need to dig a trench for your blocks. The width of the trench will depend on how wide your blocks are and how far apart you want them to be. To achieve maximum stability for your wall, dig the trench at least 12″ deep and as wide as your full-sized block is long (if possible). If you’re using smaller blocks, use these dimensions as guideposts: 9″ depth and 10″ width.
Because the soil in which your wall will sit needs to be stable enough to support it, make sure there isn’t too much loose dirt or sand underfoot before digging—you don’t want any surprises during construction! If there’s an abundance of either material present below ground level, consider adding some gravel or other aggregates first to ensure proper drainage before proceeding with excavation work.
Spread gravel into the trench and compact it.
As you lay the blocks, the gravel will help hold them in place. The gravel also makes it easy to remove and replace the blocks if they shift out of place. Finally, gravel is inexpensive and readily available from home improvement stores.
It can be purchased in bags or by the truckload (which is what we used for this project).
You’ll need about 1/4 cu yd per block to fill your trench; however, if you’re building a taller wall that’s more than one story high or using larger blocks than we did here, you may need substantially more gravel than that—maybe even twice as much.
Lay a row of block along the perimeter line, checking that they are level.
To ensure that the blocks are level, use a level to check them. Place the level on each block and adjust its position until all four feet of it are sitting flat on top of a block. If you notice any gaps between the blocks, raise or lower your wall until they line up perfectly. Once this is done and your wall looks like one long row of perfectly leveled squares (or rectangles), move on to placing your next row.
Fit together and secure the blocks to one another with mortar.
The mortar should be mixed until it is a thick paste, and then applied to the blocks. The mortar should be applied in a thin layer, and then smoothed over with a trowel. This can be done by hand or with an electric drill equipped with an oscillating tool bit.
After each course of blocks is laid, check that they are level by placing a long straightedge across the top row at several points along its length. If one side of the wall looks too high compared to another side, you can use wooden shims or wedges to adjust it while still keeping them relatively level with each other before putting on more mortar and reattaching them securely in place.
When backfilling around the landscape wall after construction is complete (and after adding water if needed), take care not to compress the soil too firmly; otherwise you’ll end up having trouble installing retaining walls later on down the line when trying to install drainage systems below those areas where backfill has been added around them
Continue laying courses of block on top of each other and securing them with mortar.
- Continue laying courses of block on top of each other and securing them with mortar.
- Keep the wall straight by marking its position with a line of string or chalk (you can use metal pins to secure the string if you want).
- Make sure your first row is level by using spirit levels placed on top of the first block in each course, or use a spirit level held against each side of your wall as you build it up.
- Use blocks that are slightly larger than those around them to give a mottled appearance to your landscape wall. This will also help keep it straight and level as it rises.
- If you’re building a circular wall, lay out three lines at equal distances from one another (for example: 5 feet apart) and mark points along these lines where you want each course’s first block to start laying down; then connect these points using string/chalk to form an arc shape for reference when building up each successive course—you’ll probably need three people working together here! For this particular shape, lay down two lines parallel with one another so there is space between them where dirt can be added; then place blocks inside those spaces before leveling them off with soil so they’re flush against one another again – this step ensures stability while still allowing room for plants once they grow up through gaps between stones later on down road.
Backfill around the wall with soil, tamping it down over time to provide stability for the wall.
Once the retaining wall is in place, backfill around it with soil. This will provide stability to your new retaining wall. Use a shovel to spread dirt over the block walls until you reach the top of them (or use a tamper tool if you have one). Tamp down this soil as you go to create a stable base for your landscape.
Use a shovel to spread dirt over the wall, working toward the top of the block line.
Take a shovel and fill in the open areas with dirt, moving toward the top of your block line.
Use a level to check that the wall is straight.
Building a landscape wall is a great way to add even more character to your yard.
Building a landscape wall is a great way to add even more character to your yard. You can build a landscape wall for a variety of reasons, including:
- Hiding an ugly view
- Creating privacy barriers between properties and yards
- Creating focal points in your yard
We hope you’ve enjoyed this helpful guide to building a landscape wall. The process is simple and straightforward, but there are many factors to consider when making your plans – from the type of block you choose, to the overall design of the wall. But after all the hard work is done, you’ll be left with a final product that looks great and can add years of value to your home.