Retaining Wall Steps: Building a Wall Avoiding All the Mistakes

A retaining wall is an essential structure for those people who live in a sloppy land or at the bank of a river. Soil erosion is a major problem in these areas, and these structures can prevent the soil from erosion. Retaining walls absorb the pressure arisen from the nearby soils and hold the soils in their place. Besides, because of the compaction, the shear strength and the ability to resist any stresses increases, which ultimately stops the possible landslides. Here, retaining wall steps will be discussed to avoid mistakes.

Many people enjoy constructing a retaining wall in their home, and it is indeed an enjoyable DIY project. But in some cases, problems arise, such as some people forget to ensure the drainage, or others choose the wrong materials. Here, we will guide our readers step-by-step revealing all the ways to build a durable retaining wall in the backyard.

Retaining wall steps to take avoiding all the mistakes

Before we discuss the construction, it will be better to know the possible mistakes that people often make.

What are the possible mistakes?

1. People don’t calculate properly to construct the base.

Designing the base of the wall is crucial because it provides strength to the structure. A weaker base indicates that the wall may collapse under little pressure.

2. They don’t focus on improving the drainage.

Due to a poor drainage system, hydrostatic pressure develops, and this pressure doubles the normal pressure. Besides, the presence of water slowly decreases soil’s shear strength.

3. They choose the wrong materials.

Wrong materials are also responsible for causing cracks or weaker structures. For example, choosing woody materials in places with high rainfall can be a problem because woods may get rotten.

Steps to build a retaining wall

You will need the followings –

  • Shovel for excavation
  • Hand tamper for compaction
  • 4-feet level measuring tool
  • Geotextile
  • Stones, gravel, or coarse sand
  • Blocks – It is better to get concrete, stones, and bricks to use as the blocks.
  • Perforated pipes
  • Mortar
  • Construction adhesive – if the material is stone or wood, you don’t need to use this adhesive.

Construction process

  1. In the beginning, you will need to excavate the soil by using a shovel. The base should be stronger than the height. Therefore, the builder needs to calculate it properly. The base should be 0.6 times higher than the height.
  2. After the excavation, the builder needs to compact the ground using the hand tamper. It will increase the strength of the soil by reducing the void spaces and increasing the density.
  3. Place the geotextile in the trench and distribute the gravel, stones, and coarse materials on it. After that compact it again, and after this, check the level using the level measuring tool. It has to be ensured that the ground should be leveled.
  4. Place the blocks carefully and check the level again using the measuring tool. Keep the perforated pipes between the blocks because they will improve the drainage system. Use the adhesive material on a block and place the second layer on it. Check the level again. Remember that the layers should be leveled, which will ensure greater stability.
  5. After building the layers, the owner needs to backfill. Try to avoid using native soil as backfilling materials because of the swelling and shrinking properties of the soil. Use gravel or tiny stones behind the wall as those particles will improve the drainage.

We hope that this article will help you avoid the possible problems and build a flawless retaining wall.

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