5 Tips for the Perfect Retaining Wall
John and I wanted to build a retaining wall to help with our flooding issues. The way the land is formed around our house creates a lot of flood zones and it’s something we needed to address rather quickly. In addition to building the retaining wall we also installed a couple of French drains, but that is a entirely different blog post.
Back to the retaining wall.
We made a trip to our local hardware store and gathered all of our items which included items such as paver base, stones / stone block, waterproof sealer, a drain pvc pipe, pvc pipe sock, and a couple of energy drinks. The energy drinks were rather needed. This was a massive project that was exhausting, but totally needed for our yard. John and I learned a few things along the way to speed up our project that we wish we knew before we started. Hopefully these five tips help you before you dive in!
- This project goes a heck of a lot smoother with two people. John prepped the area for the wall and I handed him each stone with sealer already on the bottom of the stone. This really changed the pace of our project.
- Make sure your first layer is a little bit more outward than the rest. We noticed this a little late and our first layer was already done so we had to make adjustments. Your first layer will be more outward and as you build your wall you’ll work inward (refer to the photo for reference). If the wall is stacked directly on top of each stone, going upward without a slant (think of little steps), there is more of a chance of the wall leaning and falling over.
- Take corner pieces with patience. There is an art to overlapping the corner pieces to make your turn clean. Rushing the process of making your turn can cause error and could make you redo the entire turn. Take the turns slowly and make sure the overlap is accurate. It should follow as one stone vertical and one stone horizontal and repeat.
- Speaking of patience, you’ll need a lot of patience for this project. This wall project took us two total days or in other words, our weekend. We’re glad we completed the wall when we did and it’s serving its purpose, but it’s taken blood, sweat and tears.
- Consider adding a drainage pipe on the inside of your wall to help with draining heavy rain water. It’s a really big help if you have flooding problems like we do. Make sure you lay the pvc pipe, with a sock around the pipe, after your first course of the wall.
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