Masonry blocks retaining wall

If you want to delimit two surfaces that have different heights, a retaining wall is the perfect solution. In addition to giving you a nice transition between two levels, you can, for example, plant a flower bed along the wall. The bricks are laid in joints and either they are glued with stone glue or you use bricks with heels, which lock the stones together. Regardless of which variant you choose, you get a stable and easy-to-build retaining wall.

Before you begin

A retaining wall is both practical and stylish at the same time. The retaining wall provides interesting level differences and increases the usable area of ​​the plot by removing slopes. But it is not always a project that must be practical, but the retaining wall can also be built independently and backfilled with topsoil where a flower bed can be planted. If you do not need the strength of the retaining wall, you can experiment with which stone material you want to instead create a demarcation between two surfaces.   

Many benefits of stone glue

Using stone glue makes the work easy when mortar does not need to be mixed, but it also facilitates laying when the bricks do not need to be weighed in the same way as when they are laid in mortar. When you use stone glue, the stones come into direct contact with each other and no balancing in the mortar needs to be done as long as the surface is flat. This also means that adjustments are more difficult to make with stone glue than with mortar, which can always be applied more. Be extra careful so that the surface becomes flat when you use stone glue and the paving will be quick and easy.

Do not build too high

As this type of retaining wall is not built as strongly as an L-shaped retaining wall with reinforcement, the height should not exceed 45 cm. Soil masses are very heavy and if the ground is also muddy, it becomes even heavier. In the case of muddy ground, the height should therefore not exceed 35 cm. If you want to build a higher retaining wall without mortar, there are designated retaining wall blocks that allow up to one meter high retaining walls. The retaining wall blocks have special heels that lock the stones together, which means that stone glue does not need to be used except to attach crown plates to the top of the wall.

As the crown of the work, it is nice to finish with a crown plate that is easily glued with stone glue. Of course, it is just as well to use, for example, a paving stone as a coronation if you think it fits better with your retaining wall.


A concrete retaining wall requires very little maintenance, but to keep the wall clean and free from growth, it is good to wash it with a high-pressure cleaner once a year. Over the years, some bricks can drop from the stone glue and thus lie loose in the retaining wall. To fix loose bricks, it is good to loosen the brick and apply new stone glue. When the brick is laid in joints, the retaining wall retains its shape even if a brick is removed for repair.

Follow our step-by-step guide to help you with the project installing an attic staircase.

Step 1

Where the retaining wall is to be placed, you dig a gutter that is as wide as the height of the wall. The depth should be at least 30 cm to make room for macadam and thus get a stable and draining surface. It is important that the shaft bottom in the gutter is free of topsoil.

step 2

Roll out a ground cloth against the shaft bottom to separate the ground and the macadam that is later laid in the gutter. Wait to cut the fabric until the retaining wall is filled.

Step 3

Place a layer at least 10 cm thick with macadam (grain size 8/16) and pack well with a 60–100 kg vibrator plate. Weigh the surface with a spirit level and fill in any gaps with more macadam that are packed with the vibrator plate.

Step 4

Apply a thin layer of finer gravel to the macadam to make it easier to adjust the brick later. Weigh the surface with a spirit level until it is straight in all directions where the brick is to be placed.

Step 5

If the retaining wall is to be built straight, it is easiest to use a masonry cord between two stacking sticks or similar fixing points.

Step 6

Lay the first row of bricks on the gravel bed according to the position of the masonry cord. Use a spirit level and tap the stones with a rubber mallet until they are level.

Step 7

Remove all dust and dirt from the bricks and apply two strands of stone glue, one at the front edge and one at the back edge.

Step 8

Put the next shift in joints, ie with offset joints, for extra good stability. To cut the brick, use an angle grinder with a stone or diamond blade.

Step 9

When the stone glue has dried, the backfilling can begin behind the retaining wall. Leave the ground cloth against the existing ground and fill with at least 10 cm of macadam behind the retaining wall to divert water. Cut off the fabric just below the finished ground level.