How to Build Small Retaining Walls

Building small retaining walls in your yard can add a lot of form and function to your landscape. A small retaining wall is ideal for creating an area to plant flowerbeds, segregating certain plants and soil types, marking off pathways, and protecting sprinkler systems. When building these walls, you can use special retaining wall blocks that are designed especially for small walls. The best part of these blocks is the fact that they do not need any mortar—you can create a solid, small wall using just them. This article will explain the simple process.

Vertical and Cascading Walls

Before you begin, you should be aware that even though the wall installation is simple, it does require physical exertion. The retaining wall blocks are quite heavy, and you need to lift them and do a lot of bending over. The blocks are designed with small notches that allow them to be stacked on top of each other very easily. There are usually two types of retaining wall blocks: vertical and cascading. As the names imply, vertical stacking blocks create a perfectly vertical wall. Cascading blocks can be offset to create a tiered, angled wall. They can often match the slope of the soil. In general, cascading blocks can be stacked a little higher than vertical blocks.

Installing the Wall

If you are setting your wall along a slope, you will need to flatten the soil underneath the base of the wall. The bottom row of the wall needs to be as flat and level as possible. You can fill the crevices between the blocks with soil as you build the wall upward. It is also important you pack the back edge of the wall with soil as you build it. This way, when you fill in the area behind the wall with the soil from the slope, the blocks will not budge.

After Installing the Wall

You need to monitor the walls for the next few days after you install it. The soil will settle over the course of a couple of days. It it rains or the sprinklers run, moisture can also cause the soil to compact. This can affect the stability of the wall if you do not monitor it closely, and you'll need to add more soil to the back of the wall and pat it down firmly.

These small retaining walls can last for a very long time with very little care once the soil settles. For more help or to get a professional installation, contact a company like Dansons Landscaping Inc.