7 Basic Steps for Installing Retaining Walls
· Wheel Barrow
· String Line
· Tape Measure
· 3 Lb. Sledge Hammer
· 3” Chisel
· Paver Saw or Brick Splitter
· Hand Compactor
· Caulking Gun
Draw a plan showing measurements and grade elevations. Come and see the Pros at Angelo’s who can calculate the amount of materials and estimate the cost of your project.
Mark out the location of the wall using either Mason Line or Marking Paint, both of which can be purchased from Angelo’s. Call Miss Dig (800-482-7171) 3 days before digging to mark the location of electric, gas, water, phone, and cable lines.
Excavate a minimum of 6" - 12" deep depending on the size of wall unit you are using. Excavate more if the soil has been previously disturbed. Remove all loose soil. Remember that you need a minimum of 3" of 21A or 21AA base and at least 3" of wall unit buried below grade level to help "toe in" the wall. You can save on materials if you step the wall up or down to accommodate the grade.
Place 3" - 6" of 21A or 21AA gravel (available at Angelo’s) in the trench and compact using a hand tamper. Compact until very hard. In areas with more than 6" of gravel, compact in 3" layers. Leave enough room for the first row of wall units to be buried below grade level. The final height of your installation will determine the exact level you must set your base at.
Some wall styles come as "doubles". Split them first. Level the blocks individually, using a dead blow hammer and a small level or the Mighty Tee (available at Angelo’s). Ensure that all blocks are leveled from side-to-side and front-to-back. After the first row is in, the rest of the units can be stacked. Off-set all vertical joints by starting with a block cut in half.
Add 21A or 21AA gravel backfill after every 2 rows of blocks, for drainage.
When placing your final row of blocks, (in some cases this might be a special cap called "coping"), you must glue them on with Landscape Adhesive (available at Angelo’s). Always dry-fit and cut any pieces required before gluing. Use a paver saw to cut the cap (available at Angelo’s). After gluing, place in soil, put in sod, or install plants to complete your installation.