Retaining Walls


How to Construct a Retaining Wall


  • Retaining wall stones
  • Adhesive
  • Gravel or small landscaping stone
  • Topsoil or fill dirt


  • Hand tamper
  • Level
  • Sledgehammer

Step 1: Dig a Trench and Add Gravel

A layer of gravel encourages drainage and provides a foundation for the
blocks. After filling the trench, use a hand tamper to compress it; or rent a plate
compactor, which does the same job quicker.

Step 2: Lay the Base Course

The first row of stones is called a base course. This must be level or the entire
wall will lean. Use a level to make certain stones are aligned and even — front
to back and side to side. Using a small sledge or rubber mallet, make any small
adjustments necessary to assure proper alignment.

Step 3: Add Another Row

Many manufactured wall systems feature an interlocking system. This allows the
installation and spacing of additional rows without guesswork. Simply lock each
in place with the pin system included with the product.

Step 4: Backfill and Cap the Wall

Once the wall is a few rows high, backfill with large stones or fill dirt. Then add
the capstones with a generous bead of adhesive (adhesive is used only on the
capstones). Finish with topsoil, landscaping stone, or mulch.

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