Q:

How do you build a concrete retaining wall?

A:

Quick Answer

To build a concrete retaining wall, obtain permits, prepare the area, level the base, build the wall and back fill with crushed rock. Finish the top of the retaining wall with cap blocks.

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Full Answer

To build a concrete retaining wall:

  1. Obtain necessary permits
  2. Depending on the size and location of the wall, a building permit may be necessary. Obtain all necessary permits, and contact local utilities before digging.

  3. Prepare the area
  4. Dig out the area for the wall and level the area. Leave at least 12 inches between the area for the wall and the landscape to accommodate crushed rock. Prep a trench 4 to 6 inches deep and 24 to 28 inches wide for the wall.

  5. Create the base
  6. Install 4- to 6-inch stakes into the trench and fill the area with gravel until the stakes are covered. Tamp down the gravel for a secure base, and add more gravel as necessary to cover the stakes. Add a level layer of sand to the gravel.

  7. Install the first row
  8. Lay the first row of concrete blocks on top of the sand, and use a 4-foot level to ensure the row is level horizontally. Use a torpedo level to ensure the blocks are level from the front of the block to the back, and pack the wall with soil.

  9. Build up
  10. Install the pins in the first row of blocks in an offset pattern and stack the next row of blocks. Use a chisel to cut the blocks to size. Once the wall is built up, fill the back area with crushed rock.

  11. Top the wall
  12. Top the wall with cap blocks and attach with concrete adhesive.

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