How to lay Retaining Walls

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How to select the right Retaining Wall

  • Save time and effort by selecting a DIY retaining wall system with pre-cut corner pieces and a smooth top – no need for capping – such as Linearwall™.
  • To create an outdoor room environment, use low-level retaining walls to build structure around paving – and it doubles as extra seating.
  • When creating a new space with retaining walls and paving, use contrasting colours and textures to give your home a stylish edge.
  • Gather ideas on the look you want to achieve.

* Maximum wall heights in good soils (gravels, sandy gravels, crushed sandstone).
** Keystone™ can be built up to 12m high when designed by a suitably qualified engineer and combined with soil reinforcement. Please contact your National Masonry representative for more information.

Determine which Retaining Wall is most suitable for your particular application.

  • Determine the height you want to achieve.
  • Determine which design you want – do you want curves, corners or a straight wall?
  • Select a colour that complements your area, home and surroundings such as other homes in your street.
  • Choose to D.I.Y. or hire a contractor.

Basic Guide to installing a Retaining Wall

Locate your wall

Mark out the ground where your wall will be located (either by marking with stakes and a string line or by marking a line on the ground with spray paint). Excavate trench then compact roadbase into trench to form a levelling pad.

Prepare the site

Place blocks side by side on the levelling pad using a string line along the back of the units for alignment. Level each unit side to side and front to back using your spirit level. Spend time making sure the first course of units is level, otherwise all ensuing courses and ultimately the entire wall will not be level.

Backfill and compact

Install an agricultural drain 150mm diameter behind your first course and surround with gravel (12-20mm sized gravel, e.g. blue metal). Shovel and compact your backfill (existing site soil) behind the drainage material. (Backfill consisting of heavy clays or organic soils is not recommended due to water holding properties).

Additional Courses

Sweep the top of the previous course clean. Place the next course of units in a running bond pattern (i.e. with the vertical joints from the first course units halfway across the second course units). Pull each unit forward until it locks with the nib on the unit below. Place the drainage material behind the second course of units. Stack units, placing drainage material and compact backfill for each block height layer until your wall is complete.

Fixing capping units

Place capping units, if required, on the top course. It is recommended that caps be secured using a  construction adhesive such as Landscape Stone Concrete Liquid Nails™ or a cement based tile adhesive. Some capping may require the removal of nibs from the top course of blocks.

Please consult with regulating council for local design requirements prior to the construction of any retaining wall. Councils in general require that retaining walls be designed and certified by a suitably qualified engineer where the wall is over 0.5m in height and/or where there is a surcharge loading, such as a driveway, house or other structure near the wall.

This is general information and should be viewed as a guide only National Masonry recommends you obtain professional building and engineering advice on your specific retaining wall project.