How To Build A Small Retaining Wall With Blocks

A retaining wall can be a great way to help control erosion problems on your property, while also serving as a decorative feature to enhance your landscaping. Retaining walls are typically constructed out of concrete, stone or wood timbers. In this article, we will discuss retaining walls made of concrete blocks.

1.Research Your Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a structure that holds back earth to prevent soil erosion, or it can be used to create level areas for plants and other landscaping features. A retaining wall will require careful planning and design to ensure it is able to do its job properly.

A retaining wall does not have to be large or expensive. It can be as small as an 8-inch concrete block wall, or it can be made of boulders stacked together using mortar in between each rock. There are many different types of materials available for building your own retaining walls depending on what you need them for.

You should research all possible options before deciding which material is best suited for your needs and budget. If you have questions about how high your retaining wall should be, how wide (or thick) it should be built, etc., then researching this information beforehand will help ensure that when the time comes for construction day everything goes smoothly without any unexpected surprises!

2.Order Materials

If you’re building a small retaining wall on your property, you’ll need to order materials ahead of time. If you’re building a large retaining wall, it’s best to order materials in bulk and get them delivered to your home or business. You should also make sure that the delivery driver knows exactly where he needs to drop off the materials so that they don’t end up anywhere other than where they belong!

3.Check Local Building Codes

  • Check with your local government to see if you need a permit.
  • Check with your local building code to see if you need to follow any specific codes.
  • Make sure the slope of the ground is not too steep and that there is enough fill material available to build it up at least 1 foot (0.3 m) above the top of your wall.

4.Measure and Prep

Measure the distance from the top of the wall to the ground, using a tape measure. This is your height measurement.

Measure the width of your retaining wall with a measuring tape, and make sure that you use a flat surface like concrete or grass as a reference point in order to get an accurate measurement.

Measure how deep your retaining wall will be by measuring from one side of it to another with two wooden stakes connected by string (or some other kind of flexible material). Make sure that you can reach both ends easily without having to move anything or strain yourself! If this isn’t possible, consider building your retaining wall differently than what we describe here—you might want something deeper if there’s a lot of rain around where you live!

Measure how long each side of your retaining wall will be when measured horizontally across all four corners with stakes connected by string (or some other kind of flexible material).

5.Dig the Trench

With the frame in place, digging a trench that’s at least 12″ deep is the next step. For this project, you’ll want to use a shovel and dig a rectangular hole (or square hole if you’re up for it) with sides that are 6″ tall at their tallest point.

The depth of your trench will depend on how much rainwater you anticipate it holding and how much water your soil can absorb before becoming saturated. The deeper your trench is, the more effective it will be at preventing erosion due to heavy rains and downpours.

When you’ve finished digging out your trench and leveling its bottom with some sand or soil from nearby areas of your yard, remove any debris from inside by scooping them into buckets with shovels or rakes—and don’t forget about those pesky roots!

Next comes filling up the trench with soil; once again using whatever dirt resources are available nearby (or using purchased topsoil). Once this step has been completed successfully, simply backfill around each block with gravel—this will prevent weeds from growing through cracks between blocks as well as prevent any unwanted moisture from seeping through drainage holes on top sides of retaining wall blocks (if applicable).

6.Level the Base Course of Blocks

  • Use a level to make sure the base course is level. You can use stakes and string to help you with this task.
  • Compacted soil is key to having a well-built retaining wall, so add gravel and tamp it down until it’s level with the ground around it.

7.Lay the First Course of Blocks

The first course of blocks is the most important. If you don’t lay them level and straight, your wall will be crooked and uneven. It’s best to have someone help you with this step so they can make sure that your blocks are properly aligned before you continue laying them in place.

  • Place one block on top of a level surface such as concrete or pavers, directly next to where you’ll begin laying them in place later on.
  • Use a level placed across this first block; adjust it until it sits perfectly level with both sides parallel to each other at the same height from ground level or flooring material (if applicable).
  • Using the line drawn earlier as a guide, mark where each edge meets another surface so you know where exactly how high up each row needs to go before setting down any more blocks–we recommend keeping these marks within six inches above ground (if possible) because they’ll make it easy for future landscaping projects without having too much dirt piled high enough against your retaining wall that could cause problems later on down the road! This makes sure everything looks nice when completed without spending hours trying different heights like we did 🙂

8.Install Pipe, if Necessary

  • Install Pipe, if Necessary

If you are using pipe, it is better to install it before you start laying the blocks. The sturdiness of your retaining wall depends on how well-laid your foundation is and whether or not there are any gaps in between each block. If you’re using pipe, then use it to help lay the blocks evenly and space them out evenly as well so that everything stays nice and secure while installing.

9.Lay the Remaining Courses

Lay the remaining courses using the same techniques as you did for the first course. Make sure that each block is level, straight and plumb, and flush with the rest of the wall.

10.Fill in With Soil and Backfill With Gravel

The final step is to backfill the trench with gravel. As you’re filling it in, make sure the soil is level and the gravel is level. If you have a slope or dip, this will cause your retaining wall to fall over when it rains. Make sure to keep any excess soil away from the base of your new wall as well.

Finally, fill in around the top of your retaining wall with dirt or mulch. This will help prevent erosion and water damage over time!

A retaining wall can be a great way to help control erosion problems on your property, while also serving as a decorative feature to enhance your landscaping.

A retaining wall can be a great way to help control erosion problems on your property, while also serving as a decorative feature to enhance your landscaping. Retaining walls are built with a variety of materials, such as stone or brick. A retaining wall can be built with blocks that are stacked vertically and anchored together by cement or rebar.


By taking these steps and carefully planning out your retaining wall project, you can save yourself a lot of hassle down the road and ensure that your retaining wall functions properly while looking great.

Leave a Comment