How to Build a Retaining Wall

As we may or may not know a retaining wall is a structure designed and constructed to resist the lateral pressure of soil, when there is a desired change in ground elevation that exceeds the angle of repose of the soil. A retaining wall is very useful in terms of holding water or earth. So, you want to build a retaining wall but you do not know how to. If you are in that situation, then this article is perfect for you or you can always hire Retaining Wall Contractor Nashville for a hassle-free experience.



Safety Glasses


Tape Measure

Sledge Hammer

4’ Chisel

Carpenter’s Level

Torpedo Level

Mason’s String



String Level

Hand Tamp

Pave Stone – Paver Sand for a Base

Pave Stone – All-purpose Stone for use as back fill on tall walls

Preparing the Site

1. Mark your ground area with spray paint

2. Place stakes along the paint line

3. Run a string between the stakes at the height you want your wall to reach. Makes sure to level your string with using your string level.

4. Measure down the stakes at four-inch increments marking each increment by a pencil.

5. For tall walls you should bury the first brick fully while for the short walls requires the first course 2 to 3 inches.

6. Next is digging the ground and install the base where you will set the first course of wall. How deep and thick your base depends in the wall’s height.

7. After excavating the ground tap it.

8. The base’s height depends on the height of your wall

• For rigid base use pave the stone paper base or prepare a six to one mixture of dry sand and Portland cement. Use 6 shovels of sand and one shovel of cement. Makes sure it is well blended and dry because it set if it is wet.

9. Use a two-by-four to smooth out the base material, be sure it is level in both directions.

10. Re-adjust the string stakes

11. You can lay the wall stone now.

12. As you place a stone on top of a course pull it forward to secure it in place

13. If you were to cut a stone mark the part where you want it to cut with a pencil. Wear protective eyewear.

14. You can now chisel it and cut it.

15. If you are finish with your project, backfill the wall with native soil or the soil, you excavate before and compact it in, the height depends on the height of your wall.

16. Install a weed block or a landscape filter fabric by rolling it out along back of the wall before you backfill, lay the top of the roll over the last row of stones and set the top layer on the wall, it holds the fabric in place.

17. It recommended to glue the top stone or a capstone beneath the concrete adhesive from the paint to make the wall system more secure.