How to build a 2' retaining wall?


Looking to build a two foot high retaining wall, 64 feet long. Will I need a footer or a tamped bed of gravel? What is the best block to use? Was thinking cinder block, two high with the 4" cap. Not sure how to proceed for such a low wall. Thank you

  4 answers
  • Betsy Betsy on Jul 11, 2018

    Hi Karen: You might have to check with the ordinance office in your city to see if you can do this. If you're in the country, probably not. I'd use a footer that is in the ground at least a foot. You don't want this thing toppling over on you or anything/anyone else:) I don't think that gravel will be sturdy enough as it will sink into the ground and become unstable. It would be nice if you could get rocks like they do in farmers fields, then you can just stack and mortar them. 2 feet doesn't seem high, but it really is. Cinder blocks might be the cheapest way to go. You have a huge job before you:) Good luck

    • Karen Karen on Jul 11, 2018

      Thank you Betsy. I guess I have more to think about than I originally planned.

  • Seth Seth on Jul 11, 2018

    You need at least one full block buried below grade level on top a few inches of compacted base material. (We use what's called crushed bank: a mixture of crushed stone and stone dust.) You also need to use drainage rock behind the wall. Even though it is only 2 feet it high and can become unstable and topple over time. If you use cinder block you will need to fill the voids with gravel.

    • Karen Karen on Jul 11, 2018

      Seth, thank you very much. Not sure what to do. Sloped toward neighbors property. I have a garden there now because mowing was an issue (pain). I tried landscape ties, they have rotted and sunk. I like your idea I think I would be able to handle this way by myself...for the most part. Thanks again

  • William William on Jul 11, 2018

    You would need at least 1/2 of a block below ground level not a full block. Use tamped down crushed gravel or pea gravel for the base. Back fill with soil and tamp down firmly. If you use cinder block you will need to mortar them in. If you use landscape block you can use concrete/landscape block construction adhesive in caulk tubes. If you go higher you will need to install perforated drain pipe behind the wall covered with gravel for drainage.

    • Karen Karen on Jul 11, 2018

      Thank you William, it seems to be getting a little easier! Thanks again!

  • Betsy Betsy on Jul 11, 2018

    The thing about the ordinance, if you're in the country, you can pretty much do what you want, but the city is a little more picky. Yeah, sometimes we think "I'll just clean out this 1 cupboard, and all of a sudden you're inundated with stuff you haven't seen in years and don't know what to do with it or where to put it and it won't fit back into the cupboard and you begin to wonder "Why in the heck did I start this anyway???" :) Been there - doing that:(