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Retaining Wall for side yard - using pavestone concrete blocks

Hey everyone this is my first ever project.

What I want make a retaining wall for my side yard. right now, there are currently 1'x1'x1.75" red slabs that give the mini slope some structure. the length of this project is about 56 feet and the distance from the fence to the end of the slope is about 78".

what i had in mind was to use these pavestones garden wall bricks:

I want to create a wall that is 2' high in brick (4 pavestones tall), the visible height of the wall will be 21" (not 24") because half of the bottom course will be buried for support.

from the wall to the fence line is about 78", so the ultimate plan is to make a second wall about 39" back that will create a terrace look.

the first wall mentioned will be 21" and the second proposed wall (terrace wall) will be 3 pavestones tall (3" buried) and 15" visible.

My questions:
1) what do i need to put under the stones of the first wall?
2) what do i need to put under the stones of the second wall?
3) is any form of drainage necessary?
4) when I remove the bricks that are currently holding up the slope, how do i prevent the slope from coming down on me while i place the new wall?


any comments/questions/concerns more then appreciated!!!!
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Posted 2011-07-13T03:42:36+0000  by BobtheBuilder BobtheBuilder

Hey BobtheBuilder.  Welcome to the Home Depot community!


This looks like a great project.  Thanks for the pictures.  They really help get a feel for what you are trying to do here.  A terraced approach will markedly improve the look of this side yard, and using landscape wall block is a great choice.


Before I get to your questions, I have a couple of my own. 

Do you plan on reusing the red pavers once the walls are up, or will this be a garden/planted area?


I see a couple of tree stumps located right about where you want to put the second wall.  Can I assume you plan on using a stump grinder to knock these down and remove as much of the roots as possible?


Also, it looks as though the “soil” under the pavers is more like stone/gravel/paver base material than dirt.  Is this true?  This may give you some of the material you need for the new walls, but also means a lot of it must be hauled away if you want to plant a garden there.


Ok, let’s get started.  Since your plans are for fairly short walls, the block you have chosen will work just fine.


I would consider topping off the walls with caps like these:


These caps are cemented in place using a product like this, and make the whole assembly both stronger and better looking.  Loctite PL 10 fl oz. Landscape Block Adhesive:




The Pavestone Company website has a great video on retaining wall installation.  It’s about 7 minutes long and chock full of good tips done step-by-step.  I highly recommend it.  You can find it here:  LINK.





As to your specific questions:


1). Paver sand is the recommended substrate for short walls.  Minimum thickness is only 1”.  Its purpose is to give you an easy base to tamp smooth and completely level.  Trying to grade a dirt/clay base smooth and level is in my experience virtually impossible.  You can also use paver base instead of sand for your short walls, but sand is the easiest.


2). Same as above.


3). You can re-use some of the gravel that you excavate behind the first foot of wall to improve drainage as well as reduce the leaching of soil out through the block gaps.  I recommend using landscape fabric as shown in the video to further prevent soil loss.  Drainage itself is not a big issue since you will not have a sealed wall.  It’s the natural tendency for dirt/mud to flow onto your patio that you want to counteract.


4). I would start by removing all the red pavers and stacking them up off to the side.  Yes, as you excavate some material will cave in.  Looking at your great pictures, I don’t see this as a safety issue and you will have to dig a lot of this material out anyway.  Once the pavers are out of the way, consider renting a small powered digger like this one:


I hope that is useful and wish you the best in finishing your project.  Let us know if you have any further questions about this or any other projects you may be working on.  Please come back and post some pictures of your finished terrace.  I’d really like to see how it worked out.  If there is anything else you need, we are here to help.


Thanks for joining the community!


Posted 2011-07-15T14:55:58+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
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