Doing Your Retaining Walls Right

Published on: July 25, 2015

A retaining wall can fix a problem slope or highlight a garden bed.  But it’s important the wall be properly constructed or the problem that was to be fixed can become an unsightly mess.  Before jumping head first into construction, examine the area and then put in stakes at the opposite ends of where the proposed wall.  Tie twine between the stakes.  This will ensure a straight wall.

Building a Sturdy Retaining Wall

For a sturdy wall, excavate the soil at the rate of four inches per three feet of wall.  Next, add an inch or so of base material and then compact the area with a hand tamper.  Do this in stages until the base is complete.  Base material is a mixture of sand and crushed rock and available at most home improvement stores.

The next step is to start laying the bricks. Lay the bricks one at a time and end with a full block.  It helps to place soil in front of the blocks in the first row to assure they stay in place. Depending on the size of the wall it may be necessary to cut some of the blocks to make them fit correctly.  A masonry saw will be needed to safely and efficiently make the cuts.

If the blocks in the first row are not even, raise the low block and add additional base material. Once the first row is complete, level the row gently with a hand tamper.  Add the next row of block, always trying to end with a full block.  As additional rows are added the weight or the blocks will keep the rows level.

As each level of the wall is built, fill behind the rock with crushed gravel and gently tamp the gravel into any open spaces.  This step is needed to help with drainage and will keep tree and weed roots from weakening and destroying the wall.

Unfortunately, building a retaining wall right is not always as easy as it sounds. Save yourself the time and hassle by hiring an experienced landscaper to make sure you get the job done right!

Posted on behalf of:
Maxwell Hardscapes
Sherrills Ford, NC
(704) 469-5766

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