Types and Styles of Landscape Blocks

The variety of landscape blocks you can choose from when designing your project may surprise you. Landscape blocks come in many sizes, materials, shapes, colors and textures. Keep reading to help you choose the most suitable landscaping blocks for your purpose.

Landscape Block Sizes

Landscape blocks come in a range of sizes from 5 by 9 inch rectangular bricks, about 3 inches thick, to 24-inch square concrete paving stones. For retaining walls, interlocking blocks, about 24 by 24 inches, and up to 16 inches thick, are the easiest to handle and stack. You can make the base of your wall with 24 by 48 inch stones for load-bearing strength. Walls up to 16 feet in height can be built with these blocks.

Many retaining wall materials are made in interlocking shapes that you can stack together without needing to use mortar. Each block is about 8 by 16 inches in size, by 3 inches thick. These are best for walls up to 4 feet in height. For higher walls, use mortar between the bricks or blocks to improve stability.

Landscape Block Shapes

You can choose from traditional square or rectangular blocks, bricks with rounded corners or octagonal blocks. These all have either smooth or rough edges to add texture to the wall. Stack them in staggered formations to allow water drainage, or compactly, in alternating narrow and wide rows. Finish the wall with corner stones and capstones, slightly wider than the vertical wall beneath. Irregular fieldstone shapes are best suited for paving driveways and paths, or wall facades. Curved landscape blocks also facilitate building curved walls to create circular, oval or uniquely shaped enclosures for raised flower beds.

Landscape Block Materials

Most landscaping blocks are made of with the following materials:

  • Concrete with a stone face
  • Concrete mixed with clay and stone aggregates
  • Natural stones such as limestone, sandstone and marble
  • Clay brick

Concrete blocks provide the greatest strength and load bearing capability, while clay brick is the most naturally water-resistant and has a broad range of colors. Decorative concrete, which has color added directly to the concrete, is also popular. After decorative concrete has cured, apply a sealant to preserve the color and prevent staining. Use lightweight aggregates only for wall coverings and fireplace surrounds.

Landscape Block Colors

Natural mineral pigments made from iron oxides and other minerals are used to color landscape blocks. The most popular are shades of red, brown, yellow-beige and grays from pearl to charcoal. Grays with blue and green tones are also available.

Landscape Block Textures

Your wall can have an aged or weathered finish, a smooth clay brick finish, natural hewn stone texture or any of a wide range of other textures. Choose retaining wall blocks similar in texture to the brickwork of your house, or in a different texture to complement it.

Use your imagination and be creative when designing your landscape walls. For retaining walls, decorative landscape walls, raised terraces or stone fencing, among many other applications, you'll find just the right product you need to build your wall.