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How to Build a Terraced Stone Retaining Wall

If you have a disintegrating retaining wall, consider replacing it with a sloping stone wall.

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replace old retaining wall with sloping stone wall Watch Video
  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $2,500 - $5,000

  • Difficulty

    Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Remove Existing Wall

Use a pry bar to remove the existing retaining wall. Be careful: Concrete blocks are heavy. You may be able to recycle parts of the old wall.

Step 2: Create Sloped Earth

Dig out a slope to create a terraced angle for the stone wall. Don't cut too far into the root systems of nearby trees and shrubbery, or you may kill them. You may need to add or remove dirt to accommodate the different sizes of stones.

create terraced angle for stone wall

Step 3: Lay Stones

Begin fitting stones in place. You'll need help with this task because some stones are very heavy. You'll save energy and effort by using a hand truck to carry large stones. Hand trucks are usually available at rental-supply centers.

begin fitting stones in place

Step 4: Experiment With Stones Placement

No mortar is needed: Just place each stone firmly before setting another stone on top of it. You'll need to try stones of different shapes and sizes in various spots. Try to maintain a balance between large and small stones. Use the dirt you removed in creating the slope to fill in gaps so that the stones are seated firmly.

try stones of different shapes and sizes

Step 5: Create Steps Area

Dig out an even slope to create steps.

Place stones and cut-out dirt as necessary to get the proper step height and depth, which should be as close as possible to those of standard steps. This will involve some trial and error.

place stones and cut out dirt as necessary

Step 6: Add Landscaping

Plant flowers and shrubbery in the appropriate areas in the wall, and spread mulch around the new plants.

add landscaping around new wall

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