What Is The Easiest Retaining Wall To Build For My Home?

Building a retaining wall is easiest for the typical do-it-yourselfer by using masonry blocks that will be stacked no higher than three feet, with no mortar connecting the stones or concrete members. Experienced amateurs are certainly capable of completing more intricate masonry installations or constructing retaining walls with other materials, but novices with such lofty aspirations should consult with a landscape design contractor.

Begin by laying out the area where the retaining wall will be built. Use wood stakes and a mason’s line for this project. (For a curved wall, use a garden hose or spray paint instead.) Remove all loose debris and plant material from the designated area, including grass.

Dig a trench with a shovel to match the bottom of your first masonry lines. For every eight inches of projected wall height, the trench must be dug down one inch. So, if you’re constructing a three-foot-tall retaining wall, four and a half inches of the original masonry course should be below grade.

Cover the trench’s back and bottom with landscape cloth, then run a perforated drain pipe the length of it. Add four inches of dirt, leveled and tamped down, and one inch of bedding sand on top of that.

You’ve been building the framework for the retaining wall up to this stage. It’s now time to start building the actual wall, one tier at a time. As near as possible, fit the stones or concrete members together. Backfill with gravel when you finish each row; this not only strengthens the wall but also improves drainage. (Adding weep holes at the foot of the wall is another way to avoid moisture buildup.)

Install successive courses of masonry in such a way that the wall leans slightly toward the hill on which it is being built. The influence of gravity is countered by constructing the wall on a backwards slant.

Plant flowers and small plants along the top of the wall to help it remain in place. The roots help keep the soil together, and the foliage adds to the retaining wall’s aesthetic appeal by mixing it in with its surroundings. Planting trees and bushes too close to the masonry will easily undermine the wall you worked so hard to construct.

Things to Remember When Building Retaining Walls

  • Pick a material that is easy to work with. – Choose manufactured blocks designed specifically for retaining walls for DIY purposes; a locking flange along the bottom edge provides a stable attachment between rows.
  • Begin by laying a solid foundation. – Your retaining wall’s support system will determine how solid it is. A trench filled with three inches of crushed rock can help prevent a stacked-block retaining wall no higher than four feet from moving and settling.
  • Don’t lay blocks on an uneven surface. – Since the first course (or row of blocks) sets the tone for the rest of the wall, it’s important that it’s level.
  • Make sure the backfill is correct. – After you’ve installed your drainpipe, backfill the space behind the blocks with sand or pea gravel, which will allow water to filter through to the drainpipe at the base of the wall.

Are You Looking for a Company to Build Concrete Retaining Walls for Your Home? 

Spaulding Concrete has been the SF Bay Area’s top Concrete Retaining Wall Builder for over 30 years.  We’re here to build your home’s retaining walls that will last a lifetime, no matter where they need to be placed. We have the specialized equipment, services and professional experience that you need to make permanent improvements to your landscaping. To get you started on the right foot, we would be happy to give you a free quote for your retaining walls. When you reach out by phone or email we will have one of our experts answer any questions you have and explain how we can restore integrity and structural stability to your home or landscape permanently. The qualified concrete experts at Spaulding Concrete will be on schedule, on budget and meet or exceed standards by careful planning, professional execution, and strict quality control. To schedule your free quote, contact us today! We are proud to serve Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood and the surrounding areas.