By Guest Author Richard White
Retaining walls are a great way to add a new visual element to your backyard as well as provide additional space for flowers to be planted or a water feature to be installed. With a little work, some concrete blocks, gravel, concrete adhesive glue and a few other tools, you can have a retaining wall installed in no time.
First, you’ll need to design and determine the shape, size and desired location for the wall. One way you can do this is to drive long wooden poles into the ground every eight feet or so to lay out the shape and size. Then you can use a string tape measure to create a level line of the height you want your wall to be.
At this point, my colleague tells me his landscaping company normally digs a trench that is approximately eight inches in depth and a little larger than the width of the concrete blocks that you’ll be using to build the height of the wall. Add about four inches of gravel to the trench and tamp the area down to as level as possible.
After you've done so, lay your first row of concrete blocks following your desired shape outline. Make sure that they are aligned with the flange at the front. You’ll most likely have to move some of the gravel underneath the bricks to level out the difference created by the flange. Use a level to check the row as you go and make any changes using a rubber mallet so you don’t damage the bricks. When it is how you want it, fill the holes in the bricks with gravel.
You’ll need to lay a drainage pipe at the base of the row of bricks with one end inside and the other end leading to where ever you want water to drain into. Make sure to place mesh at the end so that nothing can get inside and clog the pipe.
Repeat the process for brick rows until you reach the desired height that you outlined with the stakes and string. When you are almost at the top, squeeze some concrete adhesive glue on the bricks and place capstones on the top. Fill your newly created wall with dirt, flowers, shrubs or whatever else your heart desires and admire your handiwork!
While not rocket science, depending on the materials and the size of the wall you are building, it can be laborious constructing a retaining wall start to finish. Either hire the neighbours kid to help with the lifting or get an experienced landscaper or handyman service that can provide both some elbow grease and some expertise to ensure it's done right.