Landscape block retaining walls are a great way to add style and function to your yard. They’re easy to install, and they can be used to create all sorts of interesting shapes and designs.
In this article, we’ll show you the steps necessary for building a retaining wall out of durable landscape blocks. It’s a great DIY project that can be completed in a weekend.
- Get a permit (if required by your local municipality)
- Mark the outline of your wall with stakes and string
- Dig a trench three feet deep by at least 18 inches wide, or as much as you can afford to excavate
- Add gravel to fill in the trench, then level it off for stability
- Set landscape blocks into place vertically, filling in gaps between them with crushed stone or concrete mix when necessary
- Fill in any remaining gap between your retaining wall and soil with more gravel, making sure that there are no ledges where water could pool up behind it
1. Survey the area and mark your outline.
- Survey the area and mark your outline. Before you begin laying block, it’s important to survey the area and mark your outline. Make sure that the wall is straight, level, square, plumb and level with the ground before starting installation of landscape block retaining wall blocks.
2. Dig a trench that is below the frost line along the entire length of your wall. In most climates, this will be about 12 inches deep.
Digging a trench is the next step in installing your block retaining wall. The trench should be dug at least twelve inches deep, but it can be deeper if necessary to meet local building codes. To measure its dimensions, you will need to know the length of the wall (from one end to another), its width and area, as well as its perimeter.
Measure out along one side of your wall with a measuring tape and mark where you want your first row of blocks to go using stakes or flags so that everyone else working on this project knows where they should be laying their own blocks down. Once you’ve established this boundary line for yourself, use stakes or flags again when marking off areas that are farther away from where you’re working so that other people don’t accidentally get too close during their own workday activities!
If there are any trees behind your proposed retaining wall location then make sure that those roots aren’t going anywhere near any part where we’d want our structure built up against them.”
3. Add a layer of gravel or crushed stone at the bottom of the trench to help with drainage.
You’ll need a layer of gravel or crushed stone at the bottom of your trench to help with drainage, and it can be as thick or thin as you want. Gravel is inexpensive and easy to find, but if you prefer something fancier such as white pea gravel, that will work too.
Gravel is a good choice for drainage because it holds water well but still allows for proper drainage through the soil beneath it. It’s also an effective insulator (which keeps plants from freezing in winter), provides support for landscape blocks and other materials in your retaining wall system, and is just overall easy to install.
4. Set landscape blocks on top of the compacted gravel, taking care to keep them level as you build up from the bottom of the trench.
- Set landscape blocks on top of the compacted gravel, taking care to keep them level as you build up from the bottom of the trench. Use a level or spirit level to check for level across each row, and use a laser level to check for level on each column (or use a plumb bob).
5. Use small pieces of block or stone to fill in any gaps between large stones at top and bottom of wall, and use small rocks to fill in any gaps between stones in row above and below.
- Use small pieces of block or stone to fill in any gaps between large stones at top and bottom of wall, and use small rocks to fill in any gaps between stones in row above and below (image 2).
The final step is to add smaller rocks or gravel around the top edge of your wall (image 3). This will help hide any uneven edges from where you installed your blocks with mortar.
- If you don’t have enough time today, wait until tomorrow before you apply mortar again so it can cure overnight.
6. Continue adding rows of stones until wall reaches desired height, then add capstones to finish off wall (image 3).
- Continue adding rows of stones until wall reaches desired height, then add capstones to finish off wall (image 3).
- Use a level to check the wall for straightness, levelness and squareness. Be sure that all sides are plumb and square (that is, perpendicular to each other).
Learn how to build a retaining wall with these step-by-step instructions.
A retaining wall is a structure that holds back soil, rock, or debris to create a level area for new construction. Retaining walls are often used to level out uneven ground and create a flat base for buildings. They can also be used to build up the elevation of existing landforms such as hillsides and terraces.
Retaining walls can be made from many different materials including concrete block, stone, brick and wood. While each material has its own unique benefits and disadvantages when it comes to building a retaining wall, concrete blocks are one of the most popular choices due to their low cost, ease of installation and high durability over time.
This design for a block retaining wall is good for walls up to four feet tall. When building higher walls, you will need to use geogrid reinforcement and make other changes to the design, but this tutorial should give you an idea of how it all works. If your wall is more than four feet high, we recommend hiring a professional landscaper (or at least reading up on block retaining walls before diving in).