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How to build a block retaining wall: an accessible way

An easy and affordable way how to build a block retaining wall using ordinary tools. A few tips on how to create a solid structure.

To arrange the allotment with a complex terrain, you should learn some useful ideas referring to how to build a block retaining wall. It makes possible to restrain sliding of the soil and firmly reinforce steep slopes. It is remarkable that such a massive construction presents great decorative solutions in addition to basic protective functions.

Preparation for the construction

The retaining wall in the gardenAt first use one block for determining the installation site, setting the markup and the construction thread. Add one inch to the length of each block in order to measure the wall length properly.

Next, dig a trench that will run along the future building contours. The depth of the trench is defined by the parameters of the wall: for its height up to 25 inches, it is enough to deepen a ditch up to 16 inches. Try to ram the bottom of the pit you prepared and align it thoroughly. Use the level in order to check.

Retaining walls built of cement blocks must have the foundation, which allocates their weight and strengthens position of the construction. The installation depth of the foundation blocks must exceed freezing depth of the soil.

Lay several wheelbarrows of gravel on the bottom, then tamp the gasket layer using a hand tamper. After that, flatten the surface of the gasket layer. Add 2 in of gravel, tamp the surface and check the level again.

How to lay retaining wall blocks of the first level

Center the first foundation cement block at one end of the pit and flatten it with a hammer with rubber gaskets to fix a block in the gravel. Check the level of the block top in all directions in order to make sure that you reached a straight surface.

Place another cement block next to the foregoing one and fix it firmly in place. Weight the second block down as well as the first one and align the two blocks at the same level. Lay the foundation cement blocks one by one, until you have laid the first row. Use sand and stone dust to fill all the voids of the construction.

The upper rows

How to build retaining wall with blocksStart laying the second row using the half of the cement block. Chop the block in half using a stone chisel and a hammer. Use the caulk gun to make two lines of adhesive pellets along the top side of the first row. Place the half you got at the beginning of the second row to arrange the correct offset. Press down and check the blocks you’ve laid in all directions.

Continue stacking the second row laying whole concrete blocks until you get to the far end where you’ll put the other half-size piece. Third row starts again with a whole cement block throughout the row without the adhesive composition.

To reduce possibility of cracking the vertical reinforcement is often used in equidistant intervals. To prevent the absorption of moisture into the seams of the solution, they are given a concave shape, and then the seams are covered with a waterproof sealant.

How to cut retaining wall blocks

How to build block retaining wallHere are some ideas on how to build a block retaining wall that requires cutting cement blocks of a certain outline. Very often this sitting is used while installation of the upper row, in which the blocks must be fixed particularly firmly, and for the aesthetically pleasing look of the top row.

Saws equipped with a cutting chain are the most convenient means for cutting of stone, cement blocks or other similar materials.

Cement blocks for retaining walls may be cut by a masonry mallet and chisel, but the topper blocks are better to be processed using a masonry saw supplied with a diamond blade. Masonry saws allow making clean, straight cuts for a nice finishing outline of your wall.

Mechanical cutting

  1. A complex combination of retaining walls and stairsBefore starting the work, moisten the saw blade so that the dust does not adhere to the concrete block.
  2. Mark the line that will be cut.
  3. Make the cut.
  4. Next, clean or wash sludge and grime deposition off the front side of the block.
  5. Before you start laying the blocks, let them dry completely.

Hand cutting. If you are intended to perform the work carefully, it is recommended to cut cement blocks manually with a special hacksaw.

  • Apply the necessary markings.
  • Make a several inches deep cutting notch on a concrete block.
  • Split a block using chisels and a hammer.

Finishing of the block retaining wall

When you have made up your mind on how to build a block retaining wall and all the stages are almost completed, you are probably thinking of the wall trimming. Currently, according to the designers, rough surfaces like a safety construction of a concrete wall are very popular. However, not all allotment owners are comfortable with such a landscape element, and then its decoration can become a way out. Outdoor tile, stone or paint for concrete will be suitable as the finishing materials for the front side of the structure. 

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