How To Build Retaining Wall With Bricks

Retaining walls are built to hold back the forces of gravity. When you construct a retaining wall out of brick, you have to make sure that you have enough bricks to build the wall and that there aren’t any gaps in the structure for water and soil to get through. Here, we’ll explain how to build a strong retaining wall with bricks—and lay out some shortcuts along the way so that your project doesn’t take too long.

Remove Earth

If you want to build a retaining wall with bricks, you’re going to need to remove a lot of earth. The best way to do this is with a shovel. You can also use a pick or crowbar if you want, but it’s not necessary. If your soil is really rocky and hard-packed, using a backhoe might be the best option for removing earth. If the soil is loose and sandy, however, then using buckets or wheelbarrows may be more effective than shovels or picks/crowbars (although this will take longer).

Dig a trench

Before you can build a retaining wall, you have to dig a trench. You will need a shovel to dig the trench—a pickaxe or similar tool would be too powerful for this task and could damage the bricks. Make sure your trench is deep enough and wide enough for your wall. Finally, make sure that it’s straight; if it isn’t straight, then your wall won’t stay in place when you put it up.

Add gravel

Add gravel. Gravel is a great material to use as a base for your retaining wall. It’s cheap, readily available, and easy to work with. If you’re worried about the look of it, consider mixing in some other type of stone or rock that you like better (like sandstone). You could also use concrete blocks instead of bricks if you want something sturdier and easier to build with. Pre-plan out where all your bricks will go before laying them down so they are straight and evenly spaced throughout the entire wall.

Make the base layer

To create the base layer, you’ll need to measure and mark the area where you want your wall to be. When planning out your retaining wall, remember that it will be a multi-layer structure with at least two layers of bricks on top of your base layer. So make sure that there is enough space for those layers before marking out where the bottom edge of your retaining wall will go.

Once you have marked out where your retaining wall needs to go, use a level to make sure that each side is straight up and down. If it isn’t straight, take some time adjusting its position until it looks even from side-to-side. This step is critical! If one side isn’t straight then all subsequent layers will lean over toward this crooked section which could cause future problems with water flow around the structure or lead to instability issues when standing on top of it (which definitely won’t happen because we’re building a retaining wall here!). Once everything looks good with no obvious slants or tilts along any edges then begin digging holes at regular intervals across this surface using an entrenching tool (a long shovel).

Make a side row

Now, you’re going to build a side row.

Measure and mark the brick layout with a chalk line as before.

Apply mortar to the brick, using your trowel (aka “brickie’s trowel”). Apply mortar to the joints between bricks, using your trowel (aka “brickie’s trowel”).

Make a middle row

The middle row of bricks is the most important one, so make sure that you put a lot of thought into it.

You have a few different options for this row:

  • Use a single row of bricks. This is the easiest option, but also the least attractive and least stable option. Single rows don’t offer much in terms of stability or aesthetic appeal, so if you’re looking for something that looks good and won’t fall over when touched by someone walking past, this isn’t it! However, they do make up for their lack of stability by being very easy to build. If you want to make your wall quickly and cheaply, go with this option.
  • Use a double row of bricks. A double-row retaining wall provides more stability than single-row walls (since there are two layers), but not as much as triple-row walls (three layers). They’re also easier to work with than triple-row walls because they’re less bulky—you don’t have to worry about making sure everything lines up perfectly.

Make the second side row

There are several important things to consider when making each side row. You want to make sure that the bricks are level, spaced evenly within the wall, and of the same size. The height of the wall should be consistent throughout as well. It’s also important that you use equal amounts of mortar on each brick so they stick together properly and don’t shift over time. This is especially true if you have a flat surface or patio area near your retaining wall that people walk on regularly; otherwise, your retaining wall could start to fall apart much faster than expected.

To ensure an even mortar application across all bricks in a particular section of your project:

  • Apply vertical lines along all four sides using tape (or some other marker). These lines should be 6 inches apart from center point of one line until reaching another one at either end (see figure 1). Each line should be perpendicular with respect to horizontal plane where possible — this helps reduce errors when working later down road after removing excess material from between molds during casting process which may cause cracks along lengthwise direction instead only small ones near top edge due

Finish the wall

  • Cover the top with soil, and make sure it is level.
  • Compact the soil into place by pressing down firmly with your hands or a tamping tool. This will ensure that no water can penetrate through the bricks to cause them to rot or crumble over time.
  • Seal the top of your retaining wall with mortar or concrete, waterproof sealant, cement or any other material that will prevent water from getting through it (this may be necessary if you live in an area where there is high rainfall).

There are many steps to building a retaining wall with bricks

There are many steps to building a retaining wall with bricks.

The first step is to remove earth and dig a trench. Then, add gravel to the bottom of the trench. Next, make your base layer by placing bricks on top of each other in rows that are as wide as you want your final wall to be (make sure the width is not less than 4 inches). The bottom row should be laid flat so that it can support additional weight from above layers. Then you need to add another layer of bricks resting upon your first layer’s bottom row. Do this until you reach the desired height for your retaining wall or until there is no more room left in which more material can be placed into its structure without making it unsafely unstable due next door neighbor’s house falling over onto theirs too soon because they did not secure their own footing properly before trying build something taller


By now, you should have an idea of what it takes to build a brick retaining wall. We wish you luck on your next project.

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