How-To Videos

Building a Block Retaining Wall Makes a Great DIY Project

By: Danny Lipford
Laying the blocks for a stackable block retaining wall.

Laying the blocks for a stackable block retaining wall.

Building a dry stacked block retaining wall is much easier than laying a masonry brick or stone wall, so it makes a great DIY project.

To build a block retaining wall, level the ground and add a base of crushed stone, then stack the blocks using landscape adhesive between each layer.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: Recently, someone asked me, “Do you think I can build a retaining wall in my yard, even though I have never done it before?” Well, that’s a great question and a very popular project to do out in your yard.

You know, masonry is typically needed for laying brick or cinder block and stone. It can be learned by do-it-yourselfers, but it’s a fairly precise and demanding skill.

Using landscape blocks designed for dry stacking is a much simpler method for homeowners to master. And it’s ideal for simple projects like retaining walls and maybe raised planting areas.

Blocks designed for these walls often have a lip on one edge that helps position them. This design is great for retaining walls because it allows the wall to lean into the weight of the soil on the uphill side.

To prevent the block from moving from side to side, you simply add a little landscape adhesive—a type of construction adhesive designed specifically for this application—between the courses of block.

Unlike mortar in masonry, the adhesive doesn’t affect the level or height of each course, so it requires less skill to apply.


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2 Comments on “Building a Block Retaining Wall Makes a Great DIY Project”

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  • Dolly Pool Says:
    January 1st, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    I have a concrete front porch that is a quarter circle, each step flows around and some are too steep and some too narrow. When you come to the door you have to step back down on the steps for entering into the house! I have pictures if you need them! I am considering building a composite deck over it partially and still having the steps to one side! Help!

  • Logan Murphy Says:
    October 26th, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    My wife and I have been making some changes to our yard. We now have different levels of our backyard so we have been wanting to put some type of retaining wall in. I think this dry stacked retaining wall is a good idea. And using landscape adhesive between each layer will definitely help keep it all together. We are excited to get started. Thanks for the advice about the retaining wall.

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Building a Block Retaining Wall Makes a Great DIY Project