DIY Tips

Basic Step-by-Step Instructions for Building a Retaining Wall

A General Guide for Constructing a Retaining Wall

  1. Call Digger’s Hotline be sure you know what’s under the surface first.
  2. Mark out the area with marking paint.
  3. Excavate area to proper depth (height of first course + 6″ base).
  4. Place base material (3/4″ traffic bond) and compact in lifts 2″ or less to ensure proper compaction.
  5. Take your time and grade base to proper level, and compact.
    *This is the most important part of the installation.
  6. Level first block (should be at the lowest point in the wall if base height changes) front to back, and side to side, checking that the height is correct.
  7. Repeat step 5. until base is installed.
  8. Install wash stone behind block and compact.
  9. Stack next course and repeat step 7. Repeat until desired height is achieved.
  10. Place caps on wall and cut to fit. They can be adhered using a masonry adhesive to hold them in place.

What You Need to Get Started

Materials Needed

For Paver Walkways and/or Patios
  • Traffic Bond (base)
  • Wash Stone (drainage)
  • Drain Tile
  • Block & Caps
  • Adhesive
  • Geo Grid (for walls over 4ft)

Tools Needed

  • Shovel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Knee pads
  • Level
  • Chisel
  • Hammer

Helpful Tools to Rent

Equipment Rentals in West Bend is a good source
  • Compactor
  • Concrete Chop Saw or Table Saw
  • Block Splitter