How to Build a Retaining Wall

25 Aug 20

Retaining walls are built with a purpose in mind. However, today many retaining walls are seen as a landscaping addition, rather than a soil erosion stopper. Retaining walls are often necessary for various residential and commercial projects in order to prevent soil loss, help improve water drainage, provide usable land, or open up more seating opportunities. 

Building a successful retaining wall requires precision. This project is not something that someone can take lightly, or build in a single afternoon. But with a little patience, and some hard work, your yard can prevent future soil erosion and/or add a nice aesthetic to your outdoor living space. 

How to Know if You Need a Retaining Wall

As we’ve discussed, the purpose of a retaining wall stretches beyond creating a nice look for your yard. The main purpose is to protect your land from soil erosion or landslide. You might be a good candidate for this a structural addition if: 

  • You need to control downhill erosion 
    • Soil is migrating downward into unwanted areas of your property 
  • Your home is downhill from soil fault lines 
    • If an earthquake or ground shaking event occurs, a retaining wall can protect your home from a landslide 
  • Your home’s foundation is being threatened 
    • If your home is built on a hill, a retaining wall might protect your home from moving in a negative direction when weather conditions impact soil movements 
  • You need more space 
    • A retaining wall can open up more planting and living space within a yard 

A Step-By-Step Process to a Retaining Wall 

Step 1

A successful retaining wall starts will a level trench. This process begins with deciding the length and width of your future stone wall. 

  • Begin digging your trench with a shovel (Generally 4 to 6 inches deep, keeping level with the ground) 
  • Shape your trench to fit the shape of the land you are attempting to hold back 
  • Tamp down the loose soil to level out the trench

Step 2 

Before laying your first level of stone blocks, it is important to establish a firm foundation. 

  • Fill the trench with 2-3 inch block pavers or loose rock 
  • Tamp down the foundation to ensure it is level

Step 3 

Next, you begin laying the stone blocks to build up the wall to your needed height. 

  • Place interlocking blocks across your established foundation (you have the option of using cement to hold the blocks in a stronger hold) 

Step 4 and So On… 

  • Before laying the next layer of stone blocks, brush off the previous layers to ensure the most level wall 
  • Once you are finished with all the needed stone layers, backfill the retaining wall with loose gravel to meet the ground level with the retaining wall level 
  • Finish the retaining wall with capstones to help hold the stone wall in place  

 

 

Need a Retaining Wall in Columbia, Missouri? 

We are Columbia, Missouri’s leading landscaping provider. If you are in the need of a retaining wall to help prevent soil erosion or to spruce up the look of your yard, we can make it happen!

 

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