A retaining wall is a protecting structure first and foremost. It should be strongly built for steady support.
But it can also serve as a decorative architectural element. It is this mix of beauty and functionality which any homeowner should strive for.
While, of course, it is possible to hire a contractor to build something like this, there is no reason you can't do this home project yourself; it won't take as long as you think and also it will save you quite a few dollars.
If you want to know how to build a block retaining wall, read the following:
1. Preparation For Building the Wall
The first step is to use a concrete block to lay out your excavation with stakes and string. Mark 1" both behind and in front of the block for the length of a wall.
Next, dig down within those marks to a depth of 6". Make the base of the cavity as flat as you reasonably can -- use a level to check.
2. First Level of Your Retaining Wall
At one end of the trench, center the first block and tap it with a rubber mallet to embed it in the stone dust. Check the top of the block in all directions for a level surface.
Butt up the next concrete block to the first and drop it in place. Tap the second block the same way as the first, looking for it to be level with the first.
Place concrete blocks one after another in this way until all of the first layer is done. Use stone dust and dirt to fill all the gaps.
3. Upper Levels of Your Retaining Wall
Start the second layer with a half-size stone. Score a center line along a flat side with a mason's chisel, then tap the chisel with a hammer right in the middle of the line once or twice to split the block.
Use a caulk gun to lay down two long beads of masonry adhesive along the entire length of the first layer. Put the half-size block in place at the end walls to start the second layer. Tap and ensure the level in all directions.
Continue the second layer with the full-size concrete blocks until you get to the far end, where you'll use the other half-size block.
For the final layer of capstone blocks, put them aside and set them up using concrete adhesive and a caulking firearm. Solidly press on each piece. Enable the concrete adhesive to dry as indicated by the manufacturer's directions.
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