How to Build a Retaining Wall Border

Last year I fancied up my front porch by building a DIY Corner Bench with a Built-in Table (you can find that project here: and a Firewood Rack. This year I decided the rest of the front of my house needs to be spiced up a bit as well. The paint on my house is dark brown with light brown trim and the grass (okay, yes, they are weeds 🙂 ) grows right up to the front of the house. Don’t judge, there are too many oak trees around here to grow grass and plus, California has been in a years’ long drought! So green weeds are what we get! So, I decided to take on a weekend project to fancy it up a bit!

Here is a brief description of how I built the concrete block border. For full details, please visit my blog at the link at the bottom of this post. I purchased the concrete blocks from Home Depot. First, I laid out one row of blocks to figure out the layout of the bricks.

I then began laying the blocks, digging and leveling as I went.

Once I had the first row of block set and leveled, I began on the second row, offsetting the blocks from the row before.

Then I placed rows three and four.

Next, I laid the weed barrier.

And then added the rock.

The rock was pretty muddy, so once the border area was filled in, I washed everything down with the hose to sparkle it up!

And here is the finished project! Just need to decide on some plants to add to the area behind the border and it will be complete! As a reminder, here is what the house looked like before this project:

And here is what it looks like now:

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 32 questions
  • Jenny Wright Montford
    on May 6, 2018

    Did you dig out the weeds and grass before the weed barrier went down?

  • Mjgram
    on May 31, 2018

    This is exactly what I have been looking for!! Can flowers be planted with the weed tarp and the rocks??

    • Theresa Zeth
      on May 12, 2019

      Another option would be container gardening just put your plants into a decorative container and you can move it anywhere you want it and if their perennials bring them in the winter and they're all ready for spring! Sometimes when you cut a hole in that weed barrier it could be an invitation to a lot more work that's why I really like putting plants in the pots! Gardens for meant to enjoy and admire not kill your back all summer LOL

  • Patricia
    on May 11, 2019

    Isn’t it better to add plants first?

Join the conversation

4 of 290 comments
  • Linda
    on May 11, 2019

    I love it! But the only thing that keeps me from using rocks is if you change your mind the next year and that's alot of rocks to pick up to change.... BUT YOU DID A LOVELY CURB APPEAL!!!! I kill everything I plant! Except Lilly, pompas grass, and mint!!! So I love your work!!!! Great job!!

  • Donna Meeks
    on May 11, 2019

    Perrinnials in big flower pots is what I did with a similar flower bed. I found when I planted the ground the rocks caused the flower stems to be thinner and my flowers would droop. We just sold the house but if I can find some pictures I'll try to send you one. I even had a vine with red flowers in a pot. I laid a lattice against my wall and used bread ties very loose to get the vines to climb. It grew up to the roof of the house. You may like container gardening. I sure did

    • Linda
      on Jun 23, 2019

      Thanks I will try that! Do you bring the pots inside, in the winter?

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