DOs and DON’Ts of Building a Retaining Walls

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Are you going to start building your retaining wall soon? A retaining wall needs to be built by professionals with enough knowledge. Installing a retaining wall is not an easy job, and it will cost you more if you attempt to do it by yourself – especially if you don’t have prior experience.

Retaining walls prevents soil erosion, increases curb’s appeal, prevent flooding, and many more functions and benefits. There are several materials that you can use to build retaining walls such as concrete blocks, poured concrete, wood, wood timbers, and natural stone.

Here are the DOs and DON’Ts in building a retaining wall:


Consult and Inform Your Local Community

Some communities may require a building permit. If this is the case, it is better to consult your local authorities first. You may have to submit your construction plans and they will inspect your area to make sure that there won’t be any drainage and other issues.

Once you build a retaining wall, it can affect the water flow of your neighbours.

Choose A Sturdy Material That Will Work For You

Choosing the right material for your retaining wall can be overwhelming and confusing. There are a lot of options to choose from. You may even need to consult an expert to help you in deciding which material is best. Choosing the correct material is important because the right material will make a long-lasting retaining wall.

There are several factors you need to consider before choosing the right material. You need to check the characteristics of the soil, weather condition and moisture in the area, and drainage system.

Start On A Good Foundation

Retaining walls are considered a structure. A structure needs a good foundation for it to be stable and strong. For example, in a stacked-block retaining wall that is no higher than four feet, a trench filled with at least three inches of crushed rock can already prevent the wall from shifting or settling.

Compact the Trench

This step is always neglected, however, it is vital to keep the wall from setting in strange ways. To do this, you need to use a hand tamper or vibrating plate compactor to compact the soil in the bottom trench.


Forget To Allow Drainage

Make sure to provide drainage when building the retaining wall. After backfilling the spaces behind the blocks, install a drainpipe or “drain tile” to create drainage for groundwater.

Lay Blocks On An Unleveled Surface

If you lay blocks on an uneven surface, the outcome will not be as attractive. To make sure that the first rows up to the last row of blocks will be even, you can make use of a four-foot carpenter’s level.

Forget to Sweep Before Stacking

Have you ever seen a misaligned wall? It doesn’t look appealing at all. Did you know that even a small pebble can cause misalignment on a structure? That is why sweeping before stacking the blocks are very important.