How to Build Retaining Walls

People build retaining walls for various reasons, from landscaping, making additions to patios and the garden. The following instructions will show you how to make a landscaping retaining wall.

Required Tools and Materials

Circular saw
Hand chisel
Spray paint
Level
Measuring tape
Landscape fabric (filter cloth)
Crushed rock
Shovel

Step 1

Use the tape measure to determine the size of the retaining wall. Get the linear feet, and then buy the required number of blocks needed. Mark the area with some spray paint.

Step 2

After those preparatory steps, shovel up a hole big enough for the blocks to be placed in. There should also be a few inches of space on the sides where you will put rocks.

The trench depth must be such that the initial row of blocks will be buried. If you use average sized concrete blocks, make the hole 12 inches deep.

Step 3

Add the crushed rocks in the trench. It should be at least an inch deep. The rock is used to fortify the foundation.

Step 4

Ensure the rock is level. Shift the rock if required. Compact the crushed rock.

Step 5

When you build retaining walls, make sure you set the blocks side by side by the trench. Make certain they are level.

Step 6

If the retaining wall has several layers, you have to stack the concrete blocks in such a way they alternate. If you like, recess the concrete. It is also possible to just pile them up over each other.

Step 7

Get the landscaping fabric. Place the fabric between the dirt and blocks. This feature is important: in case it rains, it will be filtered out. This will keep the structure from getting muddy.

Step 8

Make sure you put some space among the fabric and the blocks. In case there are irregular shapes, cut them with the circular saw.

Tips and Warnings

The wall can be set to any height you want, but three feet is good enough for beginners. If you want to make a bigger wall, consult the homeowners’ association first. You should also check the building code in your area; you may need to get a permit to build that structure.

Just like with any DIY project, planning is essential when you build retaining walls. Be very specific about what you want to do with it. Always buy 10% or more than the materials required. In case you make mistakes, you have a few more concrete blocks as backup.

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