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Retaining Wall - DIY Tips

When it comes to building a retaining wall there are a number of key factors that need to be addressed. Slope and content of the hill that the wall must retain and the eventual height of the wall. The following steps are designed to allow you to build a small retaining wall with the expectation that no geotechnic issues affecting the soil or build.

Step 1. Mark out the wall For straight walls use stakes and a string line. For curved walls set the shape by laying a garden hose on the ground, then mark the curve with spray paint. Its best to use a hose with a tap on the spray nozzle of, as the water pressure will form a more uniform curve. Handy Tip: Use brightly coloured string so you don’t trip over it

Retaining Wall Step 1 image
Retaining Wall Step 2 image

Step 2. Dig a Trench Spread road base along the bottom of your trench. When using road base, level with a straight edge and compact to the required height by tamping with the rear face of a block or mechanical whacker packer. – Handy Tip: Road base consists of 5% cement – stabilized crushed rock..

Step 3. Add leveling pad Place blocks side by side at the front of the leveled and compacted road base whilst using a string line along the back of units for alignment. For curved walls, place the blocks against the required shape formed by a garden hose and marked out with spray paint. Make sure the blocks are tightly side butted together and true to the running edge of the finished wall. Sweep the top of the first course before laying the second. Handy Tip: Use a rubber mallet to tap blocks into place – a metal hammer may crack them.

Retaining Wall Step 3 image
Retaining Wall Step 4 image

Step 4. The first coarse Place blocks side by side at the front of the leveled and compacted road base whilst using a string line along the back of units for alignment. For curved walls, place the blocks against the required shape formed by a garden hose and marked out with spray paint. Make sure the blocks are tightly side butted together and true to the running edge of the finished wall. Sweep the top of the first course before laying the second. Handy Tip: Use a rubber mallet to tap blocks into place – a metal hammer may crack them.

Step 5. Backfill When the first course is in place, backfill behind the blocks with a minimum 300mm wide 10-20mm blue metal drainage aggregate to a level slightly lower than the block height. Lay in the second block course then backfill immediately behind the wall with the drainage aggregate. – Handy Tip: Back fill as you go.

Retaining Wall Step 5 image
Retaining Wall Step 6 image

Step 6. The first coarse Place blocks side by side at the front of the leveled and compacted road base whilst using a string line along the back of units for alignment. For curved walls, place the blocks against the required shape formed by a garden hose and marked out with spray paint. Make sure the blocks are tightly side butted together and true to the running edge of the finished wall. Sweep the top of the first course before laying the second. Handy Tip: Use a rubber mallet to tap blocks into place – a metal hammer may crack them.

Step 7. Backfill When the first course is in place, backfill behind the blocks with a minimum 300mm wide 10-20mm blue metal drainage aggregate to a level slightly lower than the block height. Lay in the second block course then backfill immediately behind the wall with the drainage aggregate. – Handy Tip: Back fill as you go.

Retaining Wall Step 7 image
Retaining Wall Step 8 image

Step 8. The first coarse Place blocks side by side at the front of the leveled and compacted road base whilst using a string line along the back of units for alignment. For curved walls, place the blocks against the required shape formed by a garden hose and marked out with spray paint. Make sure the blocks are tightly side butted together and true to the running edge of the finished wall. Sweep the top of the first course before laying the second. Handy Tip: Use a rubber mallet to tap blocks into place – a metal hammer may crack them.

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