How To Build A Short Brick Retaining Wall

A brick retaining wall can add a nice touch to your landscaping. Here’s how to build one.

In the following sections of this post, we’ll dive into each step of building a short brick retaining wall.

Choose a Durable Brick

To choose the right brick, look for one with a high clay content. It should be hard and dense with a strong bond. The brick should also be well-fired, frost-proof, and strong and durable.

Plan Your Wall

Before you begin building, it’s important to plan out the location and dimensions of your wall. Knowing these details will help ensure that your finished project is structurally sound, aesthetically pleasing and suitable for its intended purpose.

To calculate the length of your wall (L), multiply the height of one course (H) by the number of courses in total (N). For example: If you want a four-course wall with bricks measuring 10″ x 4″, multiply 4″ x 4 = 16″. This means that each course will measure 16″ long; therefore, there will be four courses in total—or L = 40″.

To calculate how tall each course should be: divide L by H and then round down to the nearest whole inch. In this example, since L / H = 110/4 = 27″, then 27/1 = 27″, or 28″.

Now that we know both how many courses our retaining wall should have and their overall length, let’s figure out how wide they should be! Divide N by H; this answer should give us an approximate width per course (“C”). In our example here I’m using a brick size ranging from 8″-10″, so C would equal “8”.

Excavate the Retaining Wall Area

The first step in constructing a short brick retaining wall is to excavate the area where you wish to build it. Prior to excavation, make sure that your plans are clear and that you have all the necessary materials.

You will need a shovel or other digging tools, as well as a measuring tape. You should also mark out the dimensions of your retaining wall area with stakes and string markers so that you can remove soil in equal amounts from all sides of the site. Once everything is marked off, begin by digging out soil from around each stake marker until there is about 4 inches of loose dirt left between them (this will be enough for filling).

When you’re done removing this layer, measure what remains between each stake marker and record this measurement somewhere so that it doesn’t get lost later on during construction or while placing brick pavers along edges/sides which require precise measurements (e.g., top surface height must match bottom level perfectly).

Lay a Base Course

At this point, you should be ready to begin laying the first course of bricks. The first course will be the base course, which means that it’s going to provide support and stability for every other layer of your wall. To build a strong base, follow these steps:

  • Lay out your bricks in an even row on their narrow sides so they make contact with one another at both ends and in the middle (but not along any edges). This ensures that they’ll stay perfectly aligned as you place them vertically into place.
  • Place small blocks of wood or other material underneath each end of the brick rows so that there can’t be any gaps between them when you go to set up your level for measuring purposes later on in this process; if there are gaps here, then there will definitely be seams where water can seep through later on down the line—and nobody wants that.

Line the Area With Gravel

After the area is prepared, it’s time to line the area with gravel. Gravel is an ideal base material for a short brick retaining wall because it’s easy to install and inexpensive. The material is also sturdy, so it won’t erode over time, making it an excellent choice for this project.

Add Layers of Bricks and Soil

Repeat the process of adding a layer of soil and bricks, filling in any gaps with additional bricks. Keep adding layers until the wall has reached your desired height.

Mortar a Course of Bricks for Sturdiness

Now that you’ve chosen the bricks for your wall and cut them to size, it’s time to build.

First, lay out one course of bricks in a straight line across the top of your trench. Be sure that they’re level with each other and even from side-to-side. Use your brick trowel to spread mortar on top of these bricks; then place another row of cut bricks on top of this layer of mortar.

The next step is crucial: make sure that all sides (top, bottom and sides) are even before proceeding with laying additional courses. To do this properly requires some patience—and perhaps a little help from friends if you want optimal accuracy! You can use a chalk line tool or simply measure distances between points along each side with a tape measurer until everything lines up perfectly. This may take several attempts depending on how many courses there are in total; but take heart: making adjustments here will save you plenty more headaches down the road when it comes time for grouting.

Fill in the Gaps to Complete Retaining Wall Construction

The next step is to fill in the gap between your bricks and soil. This is done to create a solid base for your retaining wall, so you can feel confident that it won’t fall over during construction or later on when planted. You will want to use a material that is heavy enough and strong enough to hold back soil from spilling over the top of your short brick retaining wall.

Fill in gaps with soil, sand or gravel according to instructions given by your local building department. Use a level as needed to make sure you’re building at an even height all along your new short brick retaining wall project and if necessary, remove sections of concrete board from areas where there are too many gaps between bricks and soil (you should have removed these already). Next spread mortar onto each brick using a trowel before filling in gaps between them using another trowel dipped into wet mortar mix until full capacity has been reached—this will ensure stability while also preventing erosion due to water runoff at low points along its surface

A brick retaining wall can add a nice touch to your landscaping.

The first step in building your brick retaining wall is laying a strong foundation. It’s important that your foundation be level, straight and strong so that the bricks don’t crack or shift over time.

  • To make sure your foundation is level: use a spirit level to test for any dips or bumps in the ground before you pour concrete. Make sure the area where you’re building doesn’t have any dips or bumps; if it does, fill them with gravel before pouring concrete.
  • To make sure your foundation is straight: use chalk lines to mark out guide lines on the ground where you want to build your retaining wall (the base should be twice as wide as it needs to be). Once you’ve marked out these guide lines, dig down until they meet at a point (this will ensure that everything stays true). You can also use stakes placed at each end of each row of bricks and then stringing twine across them for another way of making sure things stay straight.


Building a retaining wall is a multi-step process that requires careful planning, skill and patience. You can’t just throw up some bricks and hope for the best—you need to follow a specific set of instructions in order to avoid costly mistakes. By following these simple steps, you will be able to build your own brick retaining wall that will last for years—and maybe even decades. This short guide should give you all of the information you need to get started on this exciting project.

Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!