How To Build a Retaining Wall (Step-by-Step)

How To Build a Retaining Wall (Step-by-Step)

Like the flagstone patio? Here’s how I built it –
List of tools and materials and more details –

In this video I show you exactly how to build a retaining wall with landscape blocks.
You’ll learn how to design your retaining wall, the tools you need, how to build it step by step, and even some retaining wall design ideas.

First, I’ll walk you through how to design your retaining wall, and the critical components you need to include so your retaining wall doesn’t fail. Things like proper drainage, a solid base material, and making sure you dig deep enough so the retaining wall doesn’t fall over.

Most people skip critical steps, like digging deep enough for a 6″ packed gravel base – which is critical for the structural integrity of your wall. Or, even worse, they don’t install a gravel base at all.

You’ll also learn the importance of using 3/4″ gravel behind your retaining wall blocks so excess moisture doesn’t build up behind the wall and potentially cause it to fall over.

Then, I’ll demonstrate how wide to dig the trench before building your wall, and what to consider when planning that out. In this video I built a curved wall with a cool step feature.

Then, we’ll go right into building it, starting with the first row of blocks., which you’ll need to make sure are perfectly level. I’ll share some tips (use sand) for making this much easier so you can save time.

This home improvement project will have a dramatic impact on your landscape, and it doesn’t cost that much. In fact, this 50′ long wall, that is 3′ tall, only cost me about $1,000 in materials total. That’s pretty amazing considering the transformation it made to my backyard.

I think you’ll like this video, because it includes a time-lapse of building the wall as well – so you can get an idea of exactly how much work goes into installing a retaining wall – which is a lot!

—About Handyman Startup —————————
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Very few people know you can generate a six figure income as a handyman while only offering basic services like hanging pictures and TVs, patching drywall, fixing fences, and other small, but simple repairs.

—Related Videos ——————————
How to Build a Flagstone Patio:

—Related Links ———————————
My website on how to start a handyman business:
My website where I share DIY tutorials:


  1. S Works on June 22, 2021 at 1:22 am

    Great vid. What is the block spec you used?

  2. Majid Khan on June 22, 2021 at 1:23 am

    He say he woule never recommend doing by your self? You think ya’ll got time? Maybe I would hire someone for labor and work with him

  3. Matthew Crowson on June 22, 2021 at 1:23 am

    Excellent job teaching

  4. Paul V on June 22, 2021 at 1:23 am

    Great video. Love all the small details a nooby wouldn’t think of. I’m starting this kind of project this week.

  5. Angélica Dominguez on June 22, 2021 at 1:25 am

    How many bricks did you use?

  6. A User on June 22, 2021 at 1:26 am

    Why are you retaining that facial hair though?

  7. Brady Andrews on June 22, 2021 at 1:27 am

    No liquid nails

  8. Phil on June 22, 2021 at 1:27 am

    Best DYI video for building walls! Question – why don’t you use glue on all layers? What holds the wall in place? I saw a video where they used a fabric on each layer that went back into the dirt/gravel to hold the wall in place. Why is that not needed here?

  9. Beth Bessemer on June 22, 2021 at 1:29 am

    Hi Dan~what a great video. It took all the intimidation out of building a wall for me! I’m looking forward to doing the project now!

  10. Velia Garofalo on June 22, 2021 at 1:33 am

    Thank you for the tutorial! Awesome! We’re going to start pretty soon in my backyard.

  11. Stock762 on June 22, 2021 at 1:34 am

    Damn that is a lot of labor, I just did a side of my beginning of my driveway an only used about 26 blocks an that was tiring lol.

  12. J C on June 22, 2021 at 1:35 am

    Good stuff man

  13. Alex Alex on June 22, 2021 at 1:35 am

    I like the white board explanation in the beginning before you got into the actual building 👍

  14. Aaron Samaniego on June 22, 2021 at 1:35 am

    I have been looking to purchase a home looked at one with a retaining wall and it made me not even want the house

  15. EmirJesus1 on June 22, 2021 at 1:35 am

    Do you need a fabric to keep the dirt mixing with the gravel?

  16. DJ Giermann on June 22, 2021 at 1:36 am

    Why did some blocks have holes and some didn’t?

  17. Joey Jacobs on June 22, 2021 at 1:36 am

    When designing/constructing on a slope, do you start on the lower section or the higher section of the slope? (Stamping to level it out and placing the bricks)

  18. JO3haNsum on June 22, 2021 at 1:36 am

    What would’ve been the price if you hired a company to do it?
    Good info by the way

  19. Nicole Tots on June 22, 2021 at 1:37 am

    What glue was used?

  20. Leslie Amador on June 22, 2021 at 1:41 am

    You only add that glue to the top layer? Not any others?

  21. Bryan Jenks on June 22, 2021 at 1:42 am

    Awesome video! As an engineer, I super appreciate the diagrams – huge help. May I ask if you live in an area that gets freezing water? After 4 years, have you noticed any movement in your wall? I’m working on a 130 ft long and 2 ft high retaining wall and am trying to decide whether or not to use a French drain behind the wall. I have been told it’s a good idea for the Rocky Mountain region due to freezing water. I’m not sure it’s necessary for my wall however because I’ll have about 4-7 inches of drainage gravel as backfill.

  22. Jose Bach on June 22, 2021 at 1:45 am

    Did you have to cement the blocks together or just put them on top of each other? Are they strong without cementing them? Thanks! Great instructional video.

  23. Nigel Carruthers on June 22, 2021 at 1:46 am

    A dead blow hammer is MUCH better than a rubber mallet, for this kind of project.

  24. ifixyourhom on June 22, 2021 at 1:49 am

    Great job young man

  25. Mad Miata on June 22, 2021 at 1:51 am

    Heck yeah, exactly what I needed! Thanks for the info! Time to break my back!

  26. Gary Chandler on June 22, 2021 at 1:51 am

    Sir scarecrow doesn’t look like he’s lifted very many blocks, but good video!

  27. Marron Price on June 22, 2021 at 1:51 am

    Thank you. This is the most informative video ive come across.

  28. Aidyn Ball on June 22, 2021 at 1:53 am

    Would you be able to use smoother rock behind instead of gravel? I know it’s more expensive but we already have a ton because we are removing it from being a groundcover

  29. Antoni M on June 22, 2021 at 1:55 am

    How do i build a wall (2 levels) when there is a slope on one side? Does the gravel base still have to be level?

  30. Michael Devaney on June 22, 2021 at 1:56 am

    What is the maximum height for a retaining wall using same materials you used? I ask this because I am looking at a retain8ng wall going from the road up to my house foundation and the slope I believe is too extreme for just one wall so as an alternative to level from road to house perhaps a tiered approach with two walls is the way to go. Also these walls go up at an angle so a way let’s say 3 feet high angles in how far?

  31. HOME. on June 22, 2021 at 1:58 am

    Do you have an update?

  32. jascam1 on June 22, 2021 at 1:59 am

    Getting ready to hire a contractor for my wall. I’m going to make sure he follows your step-by-step method. tks

  33. andy b on June 22, 2021 at 1:59 am

    Hi HS . Easiest way to level those base blocks is onto wet cement with 6 mm stone mixed in . Tap it down till level .

  34. Doug Mann on June 22, 2021 at 2:00 am

    Excellent video and very informative. I can’t seem to fing those blocks in Ontario. Who is the manufacturer?

  35. Sara Dickey on June 22, 2021 at 2:05 am

    Where would I get the blocks you used for your wall?

  36. T K on June 22, 2021 at 2:06 am

    After my extensive research, you should put down thick landscape fabric across the bottom both where the pavers and gravel go to keep the ground from shifting over time. I went with 8oz fabric from Amazon

  37. Eze 1937 on June 22, 2021 at 2:07 am

    What is the purpose of the gravel ?
    You forget the hoses, for the irigation system.

  38. alice coppers on June 22, 2021 at 2:08 am

    Thanks for the cost break down. Give me an idea how much labor will cost.

  39. Gunslingerheel on June 22, 2021 at 2:09 am

    Really great look. Nice

  40. Chrys Luna on June 22, 2021 at 2:10 am

    As a geotechnical engineer that designs retaining walls for some projects I can confirm with this design for this type of blocks. Pretty cool small project you can diy for your home as well

  41. Anthony Barnes on June 22, 2021 at 2:10 am

    One of the more useful YouTube videos I’ve watched. Not well explained elsewhere at a lay level. Thanks!

  42. Dmitry Shevkoplyas on June 22, 2021 at 2:11 am

    awesome job, thank you!

  43. ChooChooBlanket on June 22, 2021 at 2:11 am

    is there any pipe needed for drainage?

  44. Lexingtond on June 22, 2021 at 2:15 am

    What an absolutely fantastic video! Thank you very much for all the info.

  45. pologormaile on June 22, 2021 at 2:18 am

    Really useful video! Thanks so much for posting. This has really helped me visualise what I need to do now.

  46. Charles Juett on June 22, 2021 at 2:18 am

    I use A3 sand behind my wall

  47. Nonya Byzns on June 22, 2021 at 2:19 am

    Thank you for a very well informative video. I will be changing my way of application. I had no idea I was doing it wrong. ☹️

  48. Priya Giri on June 22, 2021 at 2:20 am

    Today got an estimate of 7000$,now decided to do my self🤨

  49. Erik V Campillo on June 22, 2021 at 2:21 am

    👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 great job man. Tnx. I need a video like this for this summer.

  50. Eduardo P on June 22, 2021 at 2:22 am

    Nice 👍🏻

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