Retaining walls offer a number of benefits. Not only do they provide a way to hold loose dirt and runoff back, they’re a beautiful way to section off parts of your yard. Few landscaping ideas are more attractive than a patio that’s cordoned off with a colorful paver retaining wall. If you’ve seen these benefits and decided that you’d like to take advantage of them, you may be wondering how to build a retaining wall with pavers. In this article, we’ll lay out some of the key steps to take in your journey.
How to Build a Retaining Wall with Pavers, Step One: Decide on a Design
Pavers come in just about every shape, size, color, and texture you can imagine. This is great if you want a lot of variety in your retaining wall, but it can cause analysis paralysis. You can get so caught up in making the ‘right’ choice, that you fail to make any choice at all.
So, before you do anything else, you need to decide on a design. There are a number of great websites that offer pictures and explanations of different kinds of retaining walls. Browse through them and note any stones, colors, or design choices that you may want to implement in your wall.
Once you have an idea of the general style of your retaining wall, you’ll need to go out to your yard and survey the area where you’re going to implement it. As you do this, take special note of the height you want. A retaining wall’s height can majorly impact the materials and design that you use. If it needs to be particularly high, you’ll likely want to consult with a contractor so you can be sure that it doesn’t eventually collapse due to poor engineering.
If your design isn’t too complex, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of exactly how much material you’ll need for the design you want. Once you’ve got it all on paper, head to your local paver supplier and purchase what you need to get started.
How to Build a Retaining Wall with Pavers, Step Two: Prepare the Foundation
Before you can safely lay any pavers, you’ll want to prepare a foundation to ensure it remains stable over the course of its lifetime. You should dig a trench the length of your wall and make it one inch deep for every eight inches of height. Then, go down a further five to seven inches so you can add a solid base of aggregate and sand. After you’ve finished digging and compacted your soil, add your aggregate and compact again. Then, add an inch of coarse sand and compact once more.
How to Build a Retaining Wall with Pavers, Step Three: Lay Your Pavers
Once the foundation has been established, you’ll be ready to begin laying your pavers. As you put down your segmented pavers, check to make sure that everything is straight and in alignment as you go. Don’t wait until you’re completely finished to look at the bigger picture or you may end up having to tear things down and start over.
How to Build a Retaining Wall with Pavers, Step Four: Cap Your Wall
After you’ve got the bulk of your wall built, you’ll want to put caps on the top as a finishing touch. This will increase the attractiveness of your wall and create a smoother crown.
How to Build a Retaining Wall with Pavers, Step Five: Add Backfill
Any quality retaining wall needs about a foot of coarse stone as backfill. In addition, you may want to look at implementing drainage options to ensure your retaining wall works like it should and lasts as long as possible.
By following these simple steps, you can transform your backyard with an attractive and functional paver retaining wall.