Retaining walls serve both a practical and a aesthetic function. They help prevent flooding and can decrease the soil erosion in your backyard. And when constructed correctly using the right materials, they can also be quite beautiful. What follows is how to build a retaining wall for a gorgeous backyard design. It can be done if you put the effort into planning and obtaining the right materials for the job.

The first step is whether you are going to do the job yourself or hire a reputable contractor. The advantage to doing it yourself means saving a considerable amount of money. However, if you lack the time to do the job, then hiring a contractor is a viable option. What follows assumes that you have decided to do the work yourself.

Get the Materials

You will need the following tools and materials to create a retaining wall. Keep in mind that you can choose to create the wall out of wood or stone:

  • Shovel, Soil Tamper, and Level
  • Landscape Fabric, Cutting Tools, Stakes and Strings
  • Paver Base, Gravel or Sand, and Building Materials such as Stone or Wood

Mark the Area

You will need to mark off the area where the wall will be built. This is where the stakes and strings come into play. They will help you visualize where the wall will be and how it will appear.

Remove Soil & Dig the Trench

Now you start by removing the soil starting about two feet from behind the retaining wall. Once completed, place the landscape fabric over the exposed soil to keep it from eroding before the wall goes up.

Now, dig a trench about size inches deep which is where the wall will be placed. Use the level to keep the ground even, the soil tamper to pack down the loose soil, and a level to ensure that the trench is even.

Build the Wall

Now you are ready to build the wall. Lay down the stones, wood, or bricks evenly along the bottom of the trench. The paver blocks tend to go on the bottom, so start with them first. Keep adding another row of building materials until your wall reaches the desired height.


Once the wall is completed, you are ready to backfill the area with sand, gravel, or a combination of both materials. If you are only using sand, then you will want to add landscape fabric to the inside of the backwall to keep the sand from leaking out.

Once the backfill reaches close to the top of the wall, add topsoil so the grass can grow or planting material if you desire. You can even add some paver stones to create a seating area. It’s your choice. Just remember to tamp down the top layer until it is even.

Understanding how to build a retaining wall for a gorgeous backyard design starts with the proper planning, getting the proper materials, and determining if you can do the work yourself or if you need to hire the right contractor.

Contact Luxus Construction to get started. Please call 310-270-8596 for more information.

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