A concrete block retaining wall is both a beautiful and functional component of landscaping. Design yours as either a straight wall or curved wall. Either type of wall requires special building strategies to ensure that it looks good and remains strong and stable.
Tip #1 – Don’t Draw Your Curve Freehand
For best results, don't plan out the curve of your concrete retaining wall freehand. This will make it very difficult to create consistent block spacing. Instead, either use a curve template or the "stick and string" method: pound a stake into the ground and tie a string the length of the radius of the curve that you want to create to the end of the stake. This will create a curve with a consistent radius.
Tip #2 – Select the Right Concrete Building Blocks
Concrete building blocks come in many shapes and sizes. The best ones to use have angled ends. These will make it easier to position consistently than if you tried using straight-edged blocks.
Tip #3 – Offset Each Course of Your Wall
In order to build stability into your wall, offset each course of blocks back ½-inch. Gravity keep your concrete retaining wall stable. Try to space the offsets as evenly as possible.
Tip #4 – Use Cut Concrete Blocks to Stagger Joints
As you build higher levels, the curve will get tighter. This means that the joints will not be uniformly spaced. This will make staggering the upper courses more difficult to do if you rely solely on one size of concrete blocks. However, you can solve this problem by using blocks of smaller sizes or by cutting your own blocks to make staggering the joints easier to do.
Tip #5 – The First Course Needs To Be Perfect
Make sure your first few layers of concrete blocks are perfectly aligned and spaced. If your foundation is not even, the remaining layers will become increasingly imperfect, compromising the stability of your retaining wall.
Tip #6 – Get Some Help
Give yourself plenty of time to complete this project. Take frequent breaks to straighten your back, catch your breath and clear your mind. This will help you to avoid making mistakes and will help keep you on track. It is better to enlist the help of a friend or neighbor. This will speed up the bricklaying process and provide you with physical support for the heavy labor that is involved in this project.