When you want to create a beautiful landscape, hardscaping is a great place to start. Landscaping typically refers to adding plants and other living elements, while hardscaping refers to adding wooden structures, stone walls, decks and patios. Adding a raised patio with retaining wall blocks can be an attractive addition that provides seating and serves as a focal point for your yard. We’re going to dig into how it’s done.
Building a raised patio with retaining wall blocks is a great way to add additional square footage to your home. Here are the basics of how to do it.
Plan your project
Before you begin building, there are some initial considerations to make. First and foremost, it’s important to consider how much time you’re willing to invest in the project and how much of your budget can be allocated toward the build. If you’re on a tight timeline or want something that’s easy for others to maintain, a good option may be using cement blocks or brick pavers. On the other hand, if you have more time on your hands—or just want something more durable—concrete retaining wall blocks are an excellent choice.
Next up: Pick out the style of patio your property needs! To do so effectively requires familiarity with several different styles and types of patios available today so let’s start there…
Calculate materials by multiplying the length of your patio by its width, then multiply that result by its depth. Repeat this process for each course (level) of blocks you plan to use. For example:
- If you want one 10′ x 4′ raised patio with a retaining wall made up of 20 blocks and two capstones on each side, you’ll need 400 square feet of concrete blocks (10 x 10 = 100; 100 x 4 = 400).
- If you want two 5′ wide patios separated by a narrow walkway that is 3′ wide and 5 courses high, then you’ll need 225 square feet of concrete block and stone (5 x 5 + 3×5=225).
- And so forth!
Prepare the area
Your first step is to prepare the area for your patio installation. This means removing any vegetation, rocks or other obstructions from the ground. You will also need to level your chosen location before you begin building, so that all of your materials are flat and even on top of each other.
Once you have cleared away any debris from this area and leveled it properly, compacting it down with a tamper can help ensure that everything stays in place as you go forward with construction.
Level and compact the base
You’ll need to level and compact the base material before proceeding to build the retaining wall. If you’re working with wet dirt, wait until it dries out a little before doing this step. It’s best to use a laser level or similar tool to get your base as close to level as possible before moving on to compaction.
To compact the base, use a tamper—or even just your foot—to firmly press down on the material in several areas at once. The spaces between patio stones will help keep them from shifting around too much in response to pressure from vehicles crossing over them later on, but if your patio is still loose after tamping it down, fill in any gaps with more base material until it’s roughly two inches thick throughout its entire surface area (and make sure not to compact so hard that you compact away some of what makes up your patio).
After compacting, remove any excess dirt by hand using a shovel or other tool of choice until there are no obvious holes or depressions left behind by leveling equipment or tools used earlier
Set the first course
To get started, you’ll need to build your first course.
To set the first course:
- Lay out a level line perpendicular to the edge of your retaining wall where you want the first block to sit. This should be at least 4 inches from your wall and equal in distance from each end of it.
- Using a chalk line or string line, mark out where each block will go so that they create straight lines across this layout line (you can also use a laser level if you have one). Make sure all of these measurements are precise—if one is off, all others will be as well!
Set the rest of the courses
To set the rest of the courses, follow these steps:
- Place a level on top of one end of a course and make sure it is level. If it isn’t, adjust it until you get it right. Repeat this step for each course you put down.
- Check that each wall block will be straight by placing a line against one side and then drawing another parallel to that line about 2 inches away from it (see image). Make sure both sides are at an equal distance from each other when looking at them from above—one side should not look higher than the other! If they don’t appear equal, adjust either your block or lines until they do.
- Measure between two blocks in each course; make sure they’re all the same length (within 1/8 inch). You can use your tape measure to check this or just eyeball it—either way works fine!
Install the capstones
The capstones are installed on top of the retaining wall blocks. This will give your patio a finished look and allow water to drain away from the patio surface.
The following tools and materials are needed to install capstones:
- Tape measurer
You’ll need a level surface for installing your capstones, so make sure you have leveled the ground correctly before moving on with this step of construction.
If you need to remove or replace any capstone due to damage or repair, follow these steps:
- Remove any existing mortar from around the base of each stone by scraping it off with a trowel or scraper tool. Use clamps if necessary for convenience when removing large amounts of mortar at once; just remember not to damage surrounding surfaces while using clamps!
You can have a beautiful raised patio to enjoy for years to come.
And you’ll be glad you did. You can have a beautiful raised patio to enjoy for years to come.
If you’re like most people, you’ve dreamed of having a beautiful new patio in your backyard. The good news is that building one can be done in just a day or two! In fact, if you have the right tools and materials on hand, it can even be built in less than an hour!
In this article, we’ll walk through the entire process of building a raised patio from start to finish: from selecting materials and preparing your site to installing pavers and completing any finishing touches or landscaping needs.
We hope this guide is helpful for your next DIY patio project! If you have any questions or need advice on which retaining wall block to get, our experts at Lowe’s are here to help.