How To Make A Small Brick Retaining Wall

One of the best ways to improve the curb appeal of your home is to build a retaining wall. Retaining walls can help keep slopes in check and prevent soil erosion, but they can also be used as accents and visual barriers. If you’re looking for a DIY project that will keep you busy on a weekend, consider building a small brick retaining wall. Building a small brick retaining wall will require some planning and physical work, but it can be completed in just one weekend. Here are some steps to get you started:

Section: The Basics: What You Need To Know Before Getting Started

Section: How To Build A Small Brick Retaining Wall

Takeaway: Building a small brick retaining wall takes about three days and does require some heavy lifting, so make sure to plan ahead!

Clean and level the site.

  • Clean the site.
  • Level the site.
  • Prepare the site for your retaining wall, which means making sure it’s dry and level. You can use a spirit level to check that both sides of your site are even–you should see 5-6 inches between each side of the level when you place it on one side of your wall’s foundation; if there’s a gap between any part of the center rod and its corresponding weight, then you need to adjust something (like moving some dirt).

Dig a trench for the foundation.

To build this kind of retaining wall, you will need to dig a trench for the foundation. The depth and width of your trench will depend on several factors, including the size of your bricks and how many bricks you plan to use. If you have large bricks (for example, 7-inch by 14-inch), then your trench should be deeper than if you have smaller ones (for example 6-inch by 8-inch). You can use rocks or other materials as a support in place of mortar.

Once you’ve excavated your foundation trench, backfill it with dirt and tamp it down until level with the ground surface around it. Then lay masonry sand into the trench up to 3/4 inch below grade level; this will help hold in place any drainage pipes that may be installed later on down at ground level near where they connect with an existing storm sewer pipe underfoot – just make sure there are no obstructions blocking their path!

After laying down about 4 inches worth of pavers along both sides of each row being laid out parallel outside each segment’s perimeter walls created earlier using either 1 inch wide strips cut from 4′ lengths available pre made from most home improvement stores; then begin placing them perpendicular inside towards center following either direction outlined above depending upon whether left hand patterning was chosen versus right hand patterning used instead originally when planning out layout schematic designs before starting work actually commenced.”

Prepare a foundation of gravel.

To prevent the wall from settling, you’ll want to build a foundation of gravel. This can be done by digging into the soil with a shovel and leveling the base with a rake. To ensure that your base is solid, fill any holes or low spots with gravel until it’s level with the rest of your yard.

Mix mortar and lay the first course of bricks

Mix mortar and lay the first course of bricks. Mixing the mortar is fairly simple, but it’s important to get it right. If you don’t have a good mix or add too much water, your bricks will crumble. You should use a 50/50 ratio of cement and sand with just enough water to wet them down. Add more water if your mortar has become crumbly or dry as you can easily add more when you’re laying the bricks than if it’s already settled in place and set hard by then.

Once you’ve got yourself a nice fresh batch of mortar, simply level it out on top of your boards so that there aren’t any puddles or dry areas where extra water will cause damage later on down the line (this is especially important). After this, start placing each brick into place by lifting one end up slightly with a trowel while pressing down gently until they are leveled out within an inch (.5 cm) of each other on both sides; this will ensure that they stay firmly locked together once they’ve been fully packed down over time!

When laying these first courses across long sections without making them too high off ground level yet (around 8 inches/20 cm), make sure not only do so parallel but also level side-by-side evenly spaced apart from previous rows so no gaps occur between them after leveling off later on down road!

Continue laying courses until the structure is finished.

  • Continue laying courses until the structure is finished.
  • Make sure that each course is level, and that the wall is as wide as possible.
  • Use a level to check that all sides of the wall are at least 3″ (7.5 cm) high.

When you are finished laying bricks, fill behind the wall with soil to help stabilize it.

Building a brick wall can be an approachable DIY project if you tackle it carefully, brick by brick.

As with any home improvement project, the best way to tackle brick walls is to be patient and take your time. It’s tempting to want to hurry up and get things done as soon as possible, but rushing through a wall is a surefire way to make mistakes.

If you find yourself getting frustrated or stuck on a step, take a break from building for an hour or two. Give yourself some space from the project so that you can come back with fresh eyes and try again later. If something still doesn’t seem right after that second attempt, ask for help from someone who knows what they’re doing (or just Google it).

As long as you’re not afraid of making mistakes along the way—and learning from them—you should be able to build any kind of retaining wall.


You can create the perfect retaining wall to separate your garden from the driveway in just a day, as long as you have all of the tools and supplies you need on hand. When building any type of retaining wall, it’s important that each layer is level, so use a leveler or laser measuring tool to check your work before continuing on. If you don’t have access to either one of these tools, simply lay two bricks end-to-end across the width of your brickwork and make sure they’re even with each other.

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