How To Lay Brick Retaining Wall

Brick retaining walls are a great way to add a decorative touch to your yard while also making sure that the soil you’re growing on is held in place. Building a brick retaining wall can be easy, but it’s important to know how to use bricks correctly and follow the right construction steps so that you don’t waste any materials and end up with a sturdy wall that will last for years.

A retaining wall is a wall that is built to hold back earth and other materials. The most common material used for a retaining wall is brick, but you can also use stone, concrete blocks, or even wood. Brick is a great option for a retaining wall. It’s sturdy, durable and can be used in an endless number of ways.

Brick retaining walls are some of the most common types of retaining walls. While they may not be as strong as concrete or stone, they are much more attractive and can blend in very well with their surroundings. If you want to lay your own brick retaining wall, this guide will tell you everything that you need to know!


To lay a brick retaining wall yourself, you’ll need to prepare for the project by gathering materials and tools.

A base gravel layer is the first thing you will install on the ground. It serves as a base for your sand layer and also helps prevent erosion if it rains while you’re working on this project. You will want to use crushed stone or some other type of material that doesn’t contain clay because clay can stick to your bricks when it gets wet, making them difficult to clean off later.

You should also make sure that there are no large rocks in this layer so that it doesn’t puncture through into your sand layer below it later on in the process.

Step 1 – Prepare for the Project

Before you start the project, it’s important to make sure you have all of the necessary tools and materials. You’ll want to make sure that:

  • You have all of the correct tools for laying brick and mortar. This includes any necessary hand tools (trowels, rakes), as well as power tools like drills, circular saws and impact wrenches.
  • You have enough materials on hand to complete the project without having to leave mid-way through due to lack of supplies or material breakage.
  • The area where you’re laying brick is suitable for such an endeavor—ideally it should be flat with minimal slope so that water drainage doesn’t become an issue later down the line; however if this isn’t possible then perhaps a retaining wall system would be better suited instead (also check local building codes before proceeding).
  • Weather conditions are favorable; rain can cause delays or even discourage potential customers from visiting your store when they see how muddy it gets outside! If possible wait until after spring thaw before beginning work on constructing your new retaining wall system; otherwise consider covering any exposed areas with tarps until warmer weather arrives again so nothing gets damaged during construction time frame!

Step 2 – Install a Base Gravel Layer

For the base gravel layer, you will need to dig out a trench that is about 3 inches deep and 4-5 inches wide. The trench should run along the bottom of your wall and be at least 1 inch thick. Once you have finished digging out the trench, fill it with gravel that is approximately 1 inch thick. Then smooth out any rough spots with water so they don’t get caught on anything later on in construction.

Step 3 – Install a Sand Layer

Sand is a key ingredient in brick retaining walls. It helps the bricks bond together and prevents them from moving out of place during freeze-thaw cycles. The sand layer should be 2-3 inches below the top of the wall, and an easy way to keep it level is with a screed (or straight edge).

To compact your sand layer, use a tamper or large hand tamper.

Step 4 – Install the First Row of Bricks

Once your brick is level and straight, it is time to begin installing the first row of bricks. The first row should be plumb, square and level. You can check for plumb by measuring from the ground to the top of your first course and making sure that it is even across the entire length of the wall.

Once you have checked for plumb, take a look at your retaining wall from above or below to make sure that it looks square from both sides. If one side appears longer than another or if there are any gaps between courses this indicates that you need more work done on leveling before proceeding further with laying brick on top of brick.

Step 5 – Continue Laying Bricks in Rows, Keeping Them Level and Square

  • Check the bricks. Use a level to check whether the bricks are level, and use a square to check whether they are square. If either one is off, use a brick hammerer to adjust it.
  • Keep laying bricks in rows until you have reached your desired height or width, depending on whether you’re building a straight retaining wall or diagonal retaining wall.

Step 6 – Stack Additional Rows of Bricks

  • The next step is to stack additional rows of bricks. Make sure that each row is level with the previous one and that the bricks are level, square, straight and even with each other.
  • It may be helpful to use a string line as a guide for your next row of brick. This will make it easier to keep all of your brickwork straight and level as you go along

Step 7 – Lay Bricks Backward to Avoid Cutting

To install the bricks, use a hammer to tap them into place. If you have any gaps that need to be filled in, cut more bricks to fit and install them on top of the existing ones. To make sure the bricks are straight, use your level as you go along.

If your wall is higher than 4 feet (1.2 m), you will need to create a capstone at the top of your retaining wall that will not only keep water from getting inside but also serve as an aesthetic appeal for people viewing it from above or below. The capstone can be made out of stone or concrete blocks and should extend over both sides of the wall so that there is no chance for rainwater leakage into your yard or garden beds below.

You can lay a brick retaining wall yourself by following basic steps.

You can lay a brick retaining wall yourself by following basic steps. First, you need to plan the project and determine how high you want your wall to be. You will also need to prepare the site and prepare the bricks and mortar before starting.

Once you have all of these things in place, begin by laying out your first row of bricks on top of a flat surface like concrete or wood where they will dry overnight before being used on the retaining wall itself. This helps ensure that they’re straight so that everything looks nice and even when it’s done.

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