Retaining walls can be as decorative as they are functional, and they're a great addition if you are looking for some added reinforcement in areas where your yard's elevation is inconsistent or you're concerned about soil erosion. If you have decided that you want to install a block wall for a retaining wall, it's important that you know the fundamentals for solid construction. Here's a look at what you need to know to build a block retaining wall that will provide stability and still look great.
Planning it Out
Before you start building, make a thorough plan so that you know where the wall is going. Mark it out with wooden stakes so that you have a visual representation. Place the stakes every few feet along the entire path where you're going to build the wall, then tie some yellow caution ribbon between all of the stakes to create a solid line from start to finish. This will keep the path clearly marked.
Digging the Space
Once you've mapped out the space, it's time to start digging a trench. You'll want to clear out along the path that you've marked, digging deep enough that the first row of blocks will be completely buried. Then, make sure it's wide enough to allow about an inch or so of space on each side of the blocks. You can dig the trench by hand, or you may prefer to use a small excavation machine. Level the bottom of the completed trench so that you have a flat surface to build on.
Building a Foundation
Once you have created a level base in the trench, fill in the base layer of blocks. Spread an even layer of rock dust or a paver base material in the bottom of the trench. You'll want about half a foot or so of filler. Then, put a full layer of blocks on the bottom of the trench. Position the blocks close together so they are stable and secure. Then, help each block settle into place by striking it with a rubber mallet.
Finishing the Wall
Stagger the next layer of blocks so that they are off-center when compared to the blocks on the first layer. This offset construction provides more stability to the wall. Spread a thin layer of masonry adhesive material on the bottom of each new block before you put it in place to help keep it secure. Then, tap it with a rubber mallet to help it settle into place. Repeat this process for each layer until you achieve the height you want.
Fill the space in the trench around the wall with soil material or gravel. Use a tamper to pack everything down so that it contributes more support to the wall's structure. For more information, contact companies like Dansons Landscaping Inc.