How To Build Besser Block Retaining Wall

Besser blocks are a type of concrete block used extensively in the construction industry. They are considered to be among the most durable and versatile building materials available because they are strong, lightweight, and easy to work with- perfect for both DIY projects and professional construction projects. Are you interested in building a retaining wall using Besser blocks? Or perhaps having one installed by professionals? Here’s everything you need to know about them.

Besser Blocks- A Brief Intro

Besser blocks are a popular building material used in the US. They’re made of concrete, and they can be used for many types of construction projects, including retaining walls.

Besser blocks were introduced to the US by John Besser during World War II. They were developed as a way to help with economic recovery after the Great Depression. Besser was able to create these inexpensive but high-quality blocks that could be mass-produced using simple equipment and machinery that previously weren’t available at this scale until after WWII ended.

Building a Besser Block Retaining Wall DIY Ideas

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  • How to build an Interlocking Concrete Block Retaining Wall
  • How to build a Concrete Retaining Wall
  • How to build a Brick Retaining Wall

Step 1: Choosing the Right Retaining Wall Blocks

To choose the right retaining block, you must consider a few things. First, you’ll need to consider the project’s climate and soil type. Besser blocks are available in three different colors: red, blue or tan. The color of your block will depend on which is best suited for your area’s weather conditions and landscape. For example, if you live in a hot climate and have sandy soil that drains well, then a lighter colored block would be best as it won’t absorb heat like darker colors might do.

Next up is budget—do you have enough money to spend on retaining walls? This can be tricky because there are many different types of blocks available at different price points so make sure to do some research before making a decision about which one is right for your home improvement project.

Step 2: Collecting the Necessary Tools and Supplies

Before you start building the retaining wall, it’s important to have all of the necessary tools and supplies on hand. The exact tool list will depend on the scale of your project, but at a minimum you’ll need:

  • A hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Level or laser level (optional)
  • Shovels and/or picks (to break up rocks) – if you’re working with large quantities of stone blocks. If not, skip this step.

Additionally, some basic tools are helpful to have around during construction:

  • Gloves (for safety)
  • Wheelbarrow(es) or carts for hauling dirt/rock back to where they came from

Step 3: Planning Out the Layout of the Wall

Now that you know the basics of building a retaining wall, let’s look at how to plan out your project. This will help ensure that your final product looks good, is structurally sound and meets your budget requirements. There are five basic things that you’ll need to consider when planning out the layout of your wall: size, location, shape, materials used and design.

Step 4: Building the First Course

The first course of blocks is the most important, as it will establish the level, spacing and slope of your wall. Start by laying a row of blocks along the layout line with their tops even with the top edge of your footing.

To ensure that each block is level and properly spaced, check to make sure that they are all even with one another by placing a straight edge across them (such as an adjustable carpenter’s level). If any two blocks are not perfectly aligned, shift them until they are all aligned. You can also use a laser level or spirit level if you have one available to help you align your first course perfectly straight along both sides of your layout line.

Once all four sides have been properly aligned and leveled, measure down from each end block 1″ (25mm) to mark where you will place mortar joints between courses (the joints should be about ½” [13mm] wide at each end). The joint lines should fall directly in between two adjacent blocks (see Figure 6). Now apply some mortar onto the face of each block and press them firmly into place so that they stand out above ground level on either side—you should now have somewhere between ⅛””(3mm)–1⁄5″(20mm) showing above ground level; this creates room for new courses to be laid over top without being covered up completely by existing ones.

Step 5: Continue Laying Courses

Once you have laid the first course, continue to lay courses of Besser blocks until your wall reaches the desired height. Keep each block level and tight with its neighbor, and check each one as you place it to make sure it’s level and that joints between blocks are tight.

If your wall is longer than 6 feet (1.8 meters), use a carpenter’s level to make sure all rows of blocks are parallel so they will line up correctly when joined together—and if necessary, adjust them so they are level using a combination square or by tapping them with a hammer or mallet.

Step 6: Filling in Between the Cores with Gravel and Mortar

Now that you have filled in the cores and stacked them, it’s time to fill in between them with gravel and mortar.

First, mix up a batch of mortar: two parts sand plus one part Portland cement. If you don’t know how to mix concrete, read this article on how to do it properly.

Next, using a trowel, fill in all of the gaps between your cinder blocks—but not too much! You just want enough mortar to create a solid surface that holds bricks or stone at their tops without falling out when pressure is applied (such as by standing on them). The best way to ensure that you’ve got just enough mortar is by using a level tool; if your wall isn’t straight after filling it with mortar then there’s not enough holding strength between each block. It’s better for there not be too much than too little.

After filling all the spaces with enough mortar so that they hold together well when pressed down hard with weight applied over them (like stepping off), let everything dry overnight before proceeding any further


With the right materials and tools, building a Besser Block retaining wall is a simple process that can be completed in just one day. The key to success is planning out your layout and ensuring that you have all of the supplies necessary to complete the project.

We hope that this guide has provided you with all of the information you need to build an inexpensive, sturdy Besser Block retaining wall!

Setting up a Besser Block retaining wall is a relatively easy project to carry out. You can also consider having the services of a professional for installation.

Besser Blocks are easy to use, durable, affordable and lightweight. They are also easy to install and repair. They are environmentally friendly as they do not contain any chemicals or toxins that could harm the environment.


Besser Block retaining is an effective and low-cost choice for a DIY retaining wall. The material is well-suited to the job because of its strength and durability, but it’s also great that Besser Blocks are easy to install and cost-effective. This makes them a great choice for homeowners who are looking to build their own retaining wall without breaking the bank or spending a lot of time on construction.

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