How to Build a Strong Retaining Wall
List of Tools
Before you begin, you need the following items for this project:
- Landscape Blocks
- Landscaping Fabric
- Block Adhesive
- Myriatic Acid
Do It Yourself
With the proper equipment and materials you can build a strong retaining wall yourself. It is hard physical work but with effort you can ensure you get the look you want and a wall that will last 20 or more years. A retaining wall can make a sloping piece of land become a useable level area.
There are many applications for retaining walls such as walkways, around garden beds, and landscape decorations. You can build your retaining wall from almost any kind of material including wood, stone, or even old railroad ties. The blocks you purchase in the store that are interlocking are the easiest to install. Interlocking landscape blocks are pre-cast concrete blocks that gradually slope back as you build. Both Flat face interlocking landscape blocks and rounded blocks can look very nice.
Continue Reading Below for Step By Step Instructions on How to Build A Retaining Wall:
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1. Start Digging
Start by digging. You want the first course of blocks to start below the ground level. Use a shovel and dig about twice the width of the blocks and at least the depth of the blocks. Place a layer of gravel or sand as a base and tamper. Tamper means to pound the sand flat. You want a nice level area to place your first row of blocks
2. Square and Level
If you place a wall next to a building make sure you are square to the building or house. To ensure you are square place the first block on the ground. Smooth out underneath the block until your block is level. Use the level tool for the first row of blocks.
3. Use Landscape Fabric
Place a layer of landscape fabric behind the first row of blocks. Preference is given to twenty-year fabric. The purpose of the fabric is to hold back the sand that you use as backfill. The fabric prevents the sand from eroding through the blocks. Roll the fabric out to the width of your row and cut with a knife.
4. Fill Behind Your Blocks
Use fine sand as your fill behind the blocks. Fill in behind each row of blocks as you. The next row of blocks you place should be staggered from the first row. To ensure this is done correctly you need to cut a block in half. Use your chisel and hammer and score along the middle of the block. Score means to tap the chisel along the top of the block gently. The block will break where it has been scored. If you have never scored a block before, it may take you a few tries to get it right. Continue to build your wall. Place the blocks, fill behind them and ensure they are interlocking and level as you go.
Books to Help with Your Project
5. Clean and Glue Your Blocks
When you reach the height you like it is time to think about using the block adhesive to glue the last row of blocks or caps on. The capstones will give you a nice clean finishing look. To ensure the blocks are clean you can use diluted Myriatic acid. Let the cleaned blocks dry and then add the adhesive and put the caps in place.
6. Topsoil and Landscape
Now for the finishing touch, fill in the top row with topsoil and use your level tool. Plant some grass seed and enjoy your new strong retaining wall.
Avoid going taller than 4 feet. If your wall needs to be higher than four feet consult a professional for recommendations.
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