Real Estate

Soil retaining wall do it yourself

When it comes to holding tons of dirt, you basically have two options. Hire a mason and build a traditional cinder block wall, or you can do it yourself with interlocking (or segmented) retaining wall blocks.

The use of block retaining walls instead of traditional concrete retaining wall construction is increasing in popularity. You may see many new commercial construction projects that use the block stacking method of retaining wall construction for many reasons.

Advantages of using retaining blocks

  • Do it yourself and save money
  • These blocks create a strong wall that can be considered permanent
  • Building permits are not required until the wall is over 4 feet tall. Building codes will vary. Check your local codes.
  • The wall can be reconfigured or removed if needed in the future
  • The block can be reused.
  • The wall can be planted to create a “living wall” (depending on the type of block used)
  • Build at your own pace
  • You have more color and block style options

Case study

In my case, the wall I needed is about 75 feet long and 3-4 feet high. The budget received for the traditional concrete block wall was $6,500. The material cost for the interlocking blocks was $1,200…a savings of $5,300. Make no mistake about it, this is hard work. The basic steps you need to follow are to dig for the foundation course, stack blocks, check for proper alignment and level, then backfill and compact. These blocks weigh 62 pounds. everyone, but if you’re up for the task and want to save a lot of money on a project like this, stacking blocks are a great option. For my project, I chose to use Verdura 30 block made by and available at Home Depot in California.

This is a great project for the Do It Yourselfer with a strong back and a willingness to save a lot of money on a soil retaining wall. It is very satisfying to stand back and look proudly at your finished project, as well as earn the envy of your neighbors.

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