You’ve got a problem. Your driveway is on a slope, and it’s getting to be a real pain to get in and out of your car. It’s time to do something about it—and the solution is pretty straightforward: build yourself a retaining wall! As long as you’re careful, retaining walls are easy enough for anyone with common sense (and some carpentry know-how) to tackle. Just follow these steps and tips, and before you know it, you’ll have your own beautiful retaining wall.
Step 1 – Choose the Location of the Retaining Wall
First, you need to choose the location of your retaining wall.
Retaining walls are permanent structures that should be built on a level surface. It is important to build them on a foundation and a slope or hillside. Retaining walls are used to prevent erosion so they can also be built on slopes or hillsides, depending on how steep the slope is and what type of material you use for construction.
Step 2 – Outline the Area and Dig a Trench
Step 2 – Outline the Area and Dig a Trench
Once you have decided upon your retaining wall, start by marking off the area that needs to be filled. Place stakes along the edges of the area and use string to outline it. Afterward, use a shovel to dig out dirt from within this marked area to accommodate the gravel base. Ideally, this trench should be approximately 4 inches deep with an even slope toward its edge. Once you have dug out this trench, sweep away any excess dirt before proceeding with placing in your gravel base material.
Step 3 – Pour Gravel in the Trench
Once the soil is level, you can start pouring in your gravel. We recommend using rounded stones and large pebbles as they will help hold the walls together once they are stacked on top of each other. If there isn’t enough room for all of these materials to fit within the trench, simply use smaller stones or crushed rock instead.
You’ll want to make sure that there’s enough material for the walls to sit on without falling over—we recommend about 8-12″ worth of material in front and behind each wall before setting them up.
Step 4 – Create a Wood Slat Foundation for the Wall
Now that you’ve created a base for your wall, it’s time to move on to the wooden slats. To create this foundation, use your saw to cut pieces of wood that are the same length as each block. Then place these pieces of wood at the base of each block and use a nail gun to attach them in place.
Once they’re attached, make sure they’re level by measuring from corner to corner or using a level if necessary.
Step 5 – Attach Slats to First and Second Layer of Blocks
- Attach slats to first and second layer of blocks. Now that your retaining wall is built, you can attach the wood slats. You will need to use a power drill and screws to hold the slats in place.
- Place the first block on top of the anchor stakes you used earlier and make sure it’s in its proper position. Then, rotate it 45 degrees from where it was before so that the end touches both sides of your driveway at once while keeping its height uniform throughout (this ensures stability).
- Next, place another block on top of this one with a 45 degree angle facing away from your driveway as well so that they form an L shape together (the longer part should be parallel with each other). Make sure they are firmly secured before continuing any further.
- Finally, prop up a third piece against them using some rocks or bricks underneath so that there is no chance for collapse when adding more materials later on downpage too
Section 6 – Those First Two Rows Are Up
You’ve successfully built your first two rows of retaining wall, and you’re well on your way to creating a sturdy foundation that can support the rest of your project. The next step is to extend the first two rows out into a complete three-foot tall wall. For this section, we will be installing a base course of rebar along with granite boulders for drainage and aesthetic purposes.
We recommend starting with the top row as it will act as both an anchor for other courses that follow and also provide some protection from exposure to rainwater runoff due to its lower placement in comparison to other layers below it (which may get wetter). Take care not to push too hard when placing stones onto these mesh wires because they are delicate and could snap if bent too far—a broken piece will ruin an entire mesh sheet if no replacements are available.
Step 7 – Continue Building Your Retaining Wall
Now that you’ve laid out your first row of blocks, it’s time to continue building your retaining wall. Make sure that the new row is level with the ground and each block is level with its neighbors. Check that this second layer of blocks is also level with the first layer of blocks.
Now re-measure again to make sure everything still lines up properly and go back over any adjustments needed in previous steps if necessary.
Step 8 – Fill Your Landscape With Soil or Mulch
After you’ve built your retaining wall, it’s time to fill it with soil or mulch. In order to blend the wall into your landscape and prevent weeds from growing in the wall, we recommend using either soil or mulch. Both can be purchased at a local nursery.
Follow these steps and you’ll be able to build your own retaining wall.
Use a level to make sure the wall is straight.
Dig the trench using a shovel, then smooth out the gravel using a rake.
Attach slats with power drill and fill trench with soil, then smooth with rake.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to build your own retaining wall in no time (well, probably a couple of days). You’ll have helped solve any drainage issues that might have been a problem before and your landscape will look fantastic! You may also increase the value of your home if you do it right. Good luck.