If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive way to add privacy to your yard, or just want to spruce up the look of your garden, building a small cinder block retaining wall is a great option. The time required to build one of these walls is minimal, and the materials are fairly inexpensive as well. A cinder block retaining wall is an easy way to add a decorative feature to your yard at a fraction of the cost of stone or brick. The process is simple, but it will require some physical labor and time.
Building a small retaining wall is a great way to add functionality, style and beauty to your garden. Retaining walls can be created from a variety of materials including wood, stone and concrete blocks. Generally, the most economical material for creating a small retaining wall is concrete blocks. However, if you want to create a more ornate or decorative look, you may want to consider using limestone or granite boulders instead of concrete blocks for your retaining wall.
A retaining wall is more than just a decorative addition to your landscape. It can help create usable, level space in your yard by holding back soil and supporting the slope of hilly terrain. Building a retaining wall also can help with drainage issues—if your yard has poor drainage, you can use a retaining wall to divert water away from your home’s foundation. If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, consider using cinder blocks. Cinder block retaining walls are sturdy, simple to build and easy on the wallet compared to other styles of construction. Here’s how to build a small one yourself:
Plan your wall
It’s time to plan your wall. Planning is the most important step in building a retaining wall, and will help you save time, money, and make sure your project goes smoothly. Here are some things to consider when planning your wall:
- What do I want my finished wall to look like? Do I want it to be straight or curved? What height do I want it to be?
- Where am I going to put the retaining wall? Will it be visible from the house or road (if so, will this affect how close the cinder blocks need to be together)? How much space do I have between where my retaining wall starts and ends?
- How many blocks will go into building this retaining Wall? How many bags of concrete do I need for each layer of cinder blocks (you’ll find out later).
Dig out the area to make room for your retaining wall.
- Dig out the area to make room for your retaining wall.
- Make sure the hole is deep enough to hold your cinder block retaining wall.
- Make sure you have enough space to dig a hole that’s wide enough to hold your cinder block retaining wall.
- Make sure you’re digging in a straight line (or as straight as possible) instead of at an angle, which could result in an off-centered or slanted retaining wall.
Level the ground along the path of your wall.
The first step in building your wall is to level the ground along the path of your wall. To do this, you will use a spirit level to check that the ground is level from left to right and front to back.
If there are large rocks in your way, use a shovel or rake to remove them before continuing with leveling out your soil. Once those large rocks are removed, use your spirit level again to check that all of the soil has been leveled. You should now have an even surface ready for laying cinderblocks.
Lay a base layer of cinder block.
Lay a base layer of cinder blocks.
- Using your level, make sure the cinder blocks are straight and level with each other.
- Make sure the cinder blocks are level with the ground.
Alternate sides of the row with each new layer.
When you place each new layer, alternate the side of the block that is up. This will help ensure that your wall does not lean to one side. If you want to be even more precise, alternate sides on each row, course and layer as well. For example, if your first course has two blocks with their narrow sides facing down and two blocks with their wide sides facing down (as shown), then your second course would have four blocks with their narrow sides facing up and four blocks with their wide sides facing up (also shown).
Fill in holes and crevices with mortar mix and cover remaining gaps with dirt.
- If the cinder blocks aren’t flush with each other, use a trowel to fill in any gaps between them.
- Make sure that all of your cinder blocks are level. This will make it easier for you to see where there are any uneven spots in your wall and help keep your project looking straight and professional.
- If you have small holes or crevices in your retaining wall, use mortar mix to fill them in. Use a level when doing this so that everything is even throughout the entire retaining wall.
- Fill up any remaining gaps with dirt after you’re done using mortar mix to patch up holes/crevices
A good retaining wall can help improve drainage, but more importantly, it can be an attractive addition to your landscape.
A good retaining wall can help improve drainage, but more importantly, it can be an attractive addition to your landscape. A well-constructed cinder block retaining wall will look good and provide stability for years to come.
Step 1: Select Your Cinder Blocks
Cinder blocks are a popular choice among homeowners because they’re easy to work with and affordable. They’re also lighter than concrete or stone so you won’t need as many materials for the project. Before installing any kind of retaining wall, make sure that the ground is level with no dips or depressions where water might pool up against them later on down the road.
A little planning and some elbow grease will go a long way in creating a cinder block retaining wall that will last for many years.