Building a Retaining Wall: A Guide

Posted on: 28 August 2018

If steep banks of earth border your garden, you may wish to install a retaining wall. The retaining wall will help to prevent earth and soil from sliding into your garden following a rainstorm. However, as well as providing a practical solution, retaining walls can also offer you exciting opportunities to improve the look of your garden. Below is a brief guide to everything you need to know about building a retaining wall in your garden. 

Plan the design

Before you begin work, you will need to draw up a plan for the new wall. In this case, scribbling on the back of a beer map will not suffice. You should carefully measure the area in which the wall be located and plot its position on a scale diagram of the garden. Doing so will allow you to calculate how many bricks you need to construct the wall.

Check for utilities

In order to build a retaining wall, you will need to dig down into the ground to create a foundation. Before you start digging, you will need to contact the local utility companies. You should ask the companies if any gas or water lines run through your garden. The last thing you want to do is to start digging only to hit a water or gas line. If utility pipes are present, you will need to proceed with extreme caution. Alternatively, you could have a detailed survey carried out on the area so you can locate the exact location of any pipelines.

Dig and fill the trench

Once you have checked for the presence of utilities, you can begin digging the trench. The easiest way to do this is to call in a construction company who will use professional tools such as excavators to get the job down quickly. Once the trench is dug, you should drop sand into it until the entire bottom of the trench is covered in a few inches of sand. You should then use a tamper to compress the sand.

Lay the bricks

You are now ready to start laying bricks into the trench. You should start at the lowest point and work uphill. Once you lay the first layer of bricks, you should use a spirit level to check that they are sitting level. Once you are happy that the bricks are level you should add a little bit of sand to the base of the bricks to hold them in place. Once this is done, you can continue to add bricks and mortar until the retaining wall is complete.

If you would like further advice, you should contact a local construction company.