The 30 Minute Reno: Building that retaining wall

team tnThis, the final post in our retaining walls series provides you with the basic instructions on how to construct the wall. If you’re ready to build your retaining wall you have already done your research to determine what materials you will be utilising and, if required, have obtained approval from council on where your wall will be placed. Now you,re ready to begin...

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Blogger: Paul Eslick, Justin Eslick & Geoff Doidge, The Reno Kings

The first steps will be to prepare the groundwork. If you plan on building a straight wall you will need to set pegs and place a string line across the area. If you’re planning a curved wall you will need to first lay out the desired curve by marking on the ground with string and a peg attached to the centre of the curve so it helps you create the arc effect you’re after.

The next step will be to scrape away the grass and dirt to mark the area. In most cases you will be able to use a rake. You can then dig a trench of approximately 25cm deep and 60cm wide. It’s important to remember that the height of the wall should be equal or less than half the base.
Once the trench has been dug out it is time to add gravel followed by medal dust or 25mm sharp sand. You will need to fill to approximately 15cm from ground level. Compact the gravel and sand and at intervals use a spirit level to ensure the gravel bed is as level as possible.

If the retaining wall is being built on a sloping bed you will need to make the bed stepped. If bricks are your material of choice it is imperative they are laid level or you will get movement over time.


Once the groundwork is ready you will be able to begin laying the base blocks. These first layers are the most important so always have your spirit level handy to check everything is straight or following the desired curve you have previously pegged out. When the first layer has been laid and you are satisfied with it you will be required to backfill the front of the first layer with gravel or dirt. By covering at least 100mm of the first layer it will help to prevent movement in the wall later on.

While adding more layers to your retaining wall it is advised that you backfill and compact as much as possible as you go. By not doing this you will find that once the dirt has had time to settle you will be continually adding more backfill.

As mentioned in our previous blogs, retaining walls over one metre in height will generally be required to obtain a permit. If you would prefer to engage professionals to do the job then your builder will normally liaise with council on your behalf to ensure all the requirements are met before he begins building. Sometimes depending on how complex the retaining wall will be it is wiser to leave it to the professionals. That way you can be sure that issues such as adequate drainage and the wall being structurally sound aren’t an issue later on - which may be more cost effective for you.
If you do opt to engage a professional, always ensure they are appropriately qualified and have the experience required. Also obtain quotes beforehand (we recommend three)   so the job doesn’t blow out over budget.

About The Reno Kings
team“From over 70yrs combined experience & $40million in property holdings, Reno Kings Paul Eslick, Justin Eslick & Geoff Doidge show you how to make money in property."

The Reno Kings have been successful in property for over 35 years – and it hasn’t been by taking risks!  And for 12 years now they’ve been showing people from all over Australia how to buy exceptional property deals, cleverly add tremendous value to residential properties through cosmetic renovation and development and to safely and successfully create wealth by building a property portfolio. 

Justin has been teaching alongside Geoff and Paul for the past 5 years and his town planning and professional buying skills are so very powerful that they won’t touch a property without Justin first giving it the ‘go-ahead’.  Others have come and gone, but the Reno Kings have always been there, powering along, using their safe and secure formulas to build up $40million worth of property.  Thriving – not just surviving – through 35 odd years of property cycles proves that what they’re doing is right!   And that’s why they get so many questions from property investors and why the media always go to them for help on property and renovation stories.  The Reno Kings are the trusted name in property education.

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