How To Build A Terraced Retaining Wall On A Slope

Adding a retaining wall to your property can be a great way to increase safety, privacy, and even curb appeal. But do you know how to build one that’ll last? Read on for a guide on how to build a terraced retaining wall on your own. If you’re not sure about doing this yourself, though, call in the professionals

Use string to lay out the wall.

When you’re laying out the wall, you’ll need to use string. There are a few ways to attach the string so that it stays in place:

  • Use stakes to hold down one end of the string and then tighten it as far as possible with pliers or wire cutters.
  • Use flexible rulers with small holes drilled into them where you can tie the string at each measurement point along your slope (these rulers are called graders).

The person holding down one end of the string should stand on level ground; if this person is not standing on level ground, then don’t trust their measurements! The person measuring from above should stand on top of a step ladder or other raised platform so they can see how straight their line is going across your slope and make sure it’s perpendicular (that is, vertically straight) when they measure across it. If this isn’t working for some reason—for example, if there’s no wind but somehow still seems too hard—you may want to try using two people instead: one at each end of your yardstick-type tool who will be able to help keep things steady while making measurements together

Dig a trench for the bottom course of blocks.

To dig the trench, you’ll need to first measure its width using a tape measure. You’ll also want to measure its depth and length so that you know how many blocks it will require. Next, use a level to check that the ground is level before proceeding with digging. Finally, use your shovel or trowel to dig out the dirt from underneath each block in preparation for installation.

Dig for the footings.

The footings are the foundation of your wall. They should be leveled, straight and spaced at equal intervals to ensure that all blocks remain level with each other. If you’re working on a slope, dig up the ground around your footing location so that it’s level with the bottom of your first row of block.

Lay concrete blocks on crushed stone.

  • Use a level to make sure the blocks are straight.
  • Spread mortar on top and bottom of each block with a trowel.
  • Tap blocks into place, making sure they’re level with each other and with the rest of your retaining wall.
  • Use a level to make sure everything is straight, then add more mortar if needed at this point so that it can dry overnight before you continue working on it tomorrow

Backfill behind the blocks with crushed stone.

Now that you’ve built the wall, it’s time to backfill the area behind it. Make sure to leave a gap equal to the length of your blocks between them and the wall. If you don’t, your terraced retaining wall won’t look right or function properly. Fill in this space with crushed stone (make sure it’s level with the top surface of your block). Don’t overfill this gap or else water could seep into it and cause problems later on

Measure twice and cut once! You should also measure twice before cutting any of your materials so that everything fits together perfectly like a puzzle piece.

Install drainage pipe and fill with crushed stone.

  • Cut the drain pipe to length using a pipe cutter.
  • Dig a trench for drainage pipe, using a spade.
  • Compact crushed stone into the bottom of the trench with a tamper and rake it smooth with a rake.
  • Use a shovel to fill in around and over your drainage pipes, packing down dirt firmly until your retaining wall is level with surrounding ground level. (This will be easier if you have several people helping.)
  • Use garden hose to remove excess water from around retaining wall so that you can plant it or add soil as needed later on in this project

Don’t be afraid to call in a professional if you think you need help

If you’re going to build a terraced retaining wall on a slope, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional, or from someone with experience doing it before. Don’t think that just because you’re capable of doing it yourself means that it doesn’t make sense to bring in an expert. And if you do decide to hire a professional, don’t assume that the person who built your neighbor’s retaining wall can handle yours as well—they might not have any more experience building this type of project than you do


Terracing is a great way to add dimension and personality to your yard. Whether you’re adding terraces in order to plant flowers, grow vegetables, or just create some extra space for entertaining outdoors, the process isn’t too difficult. We hope you’ve learned how to build a terraced retaining wall on a slope, but don’t hesitate to call in an expert if you have questions along the way.

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