If you’re planning on building a retaining wall, you’ll need to know how to get started. Building a retaining wall is fairly easy, but it requires some tools and materials that may be hard to find in your local hardware store. A basic understanding of construction methods is also necessary if you want to build something that will last.
Landscape blocks are one of the best materials for building a retaining wall because they are durable and easy to work with. They also come in a variety of colors so you can use them for more than just retaining walls! If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to build a retaining wall that’s both attractive and functional, then look no further than landscape blocks.
1. Plan your retaining wall.
- Plan your retaining wall.
Before you begin, decide what kind of retaining wall you want: a straight-sided one or one that curves to follow the terrain. Next, figure out how high and how wide you want it to be as well as how much soil and plants will be on top of the wall (this will help determine its height). Finally, consider what kind of soil conditions are available—will they allow for good drainage? Are there any rocks or roots in the way?
2. Calculate the blocks and wall materials you will need.
We recommend using landscape blocks, because they are light and easy to work with. You will need a total of 30 blocks for your retaining wall (15 on each side). If you have the space, we would suggest buying an extra bag or two of each material—it’s better to be safe than sorry. There are three different types of materials that you will need: cement, sand, gravel and topsoil. Cement is used as the adhesive between all the other materials so make sure you get enough bags (we suggest eight) if not more; then add in five bags of sand; three bags of gravel; and finally one bag of topsoil per side. If possible get two more bags just in case one runs out before finishing your project. Topsoil can be substituted with pea stone which we recommend doing if this option is available since it looks nicer at the end result but it may be more expensive depending on where you live so keep this in mind when shopping around for prices depending on what type of stone you want use most often works best here too).
3. Clear the ground where the retaining wall will be built.
The first step in building a retaining wall is to clear the area where it will be installed. You must remove all vegetation, soil and other debris that may affect the foundation of your wall. Remove rocks, roots and other obstructions from the site. Also remove any dead trees or branches that could fall on your new retaining wall during construction.
Remove any loose soil with a shovel and rake so there are no gaps between blocks when they are placed in position later on. Remove any concrete slabs or broken bricks or rocks as well as any other debris that might hinder your progress in building your new project.
4. Dig a trench down to solid ground.
The next step is to dig a trench that is at least 2 feet deep, and at least 3 feet wide. The working width of your trench should be about 6 inches wider than the actual width of your blocks (the blocks are actually 5 inches in either direction). You can use a shovel for this process, but it’s easier if you break up the ground with a pick first. Once the dirt has been removed, rake over the surface to make sure it is smooth and level.
5. Place a level course of gravel in the trench.
With the gravel in place, you can now place the first course of blocks.
Use your shovel to scoop out a small amount of gravel from your wheelbarrow and transfer it onto the wall. Next, use your shovel to level the gravel so that it’s even with all sides of the trench. Use another tool—such as a tamping tool or hoe—to ensure that all loose pieces are firmly pressed down into place.
6. Begin building the first course of blocks directly on top of the gravel, placing each one so that it is level along its length, width and height. The base stones should sit at least an inch above ground level so that water does not pool around them or seep under them.
- Begin building the first course of blocks directly on top of the gravel, placing each one so that it is level along its length, width and height. The base stones should sit at least an inch above ground level so that water does not pool around them or seep under them. It is important to keep the base stones level since they will be supporting all other courses of blocks throughout your retaining wall project.
7. Continue stacking courses of blocks on top of each other, using a string line to help maintain a straight face for the wall and ensuring that each course is level before laying the next one down. Backfill the first layer with vertical posts about every 16 inches to give added support for the weight of the soil behind it, as well as lateral supports to keep it from tipping out over time from soil erosion or flooding issues.
- Continue stacking courses of blocks on top of each other, using a string line to help maintain a straight face for the wall and ensuring that each course is level before laying the next one down. Backfill the first layer with vertical posts about every 16 inches to give added support for the weight of the soil behind it, as well as lateral supports to keep it from tipping out over time from soil erosion or flooding issues.
- Use a string line to help you build your retaining wall in an orderly fashion. This keeps all sides square and even, which will make your project look more professional when complete. If this isn’t an option for you, try measuring diagonally from corner to corner at least once per course (and preferably twice) before placing another block on top of it—this will ensure that corners are square and not leaning inward or outward by more than 1/32 inch (.8 mm). If they do lean too far off-kilter, place some extra blocks here and there as needed so that they’re all properly aligned with their neighbors.* Backfill around each tier’s vertical post every 16 inches—but don’t fill past them! The posts should still be visible after backfilling has completed; otherwise, they won’t provide any support later on when you pour concrete into them (which comes later).
A retaining wall is a great way to change the shape of your yard and can add visual interest to your landscaping. With just a few simple steps, you will be on your way to building a beautiful structure that will last for years.