Can I Build a Retaining Wall by Myself

Can I Build a Retaining Wall by Myself

A retaining wall can come in many forms depending on the needs of the client themself. In some instances, some may feel it can be easier to just create it on their own. But is this actually possible? Or is a retaining wall only achievable through a team working together on site?

In this blog, we will provide guidance regarding the question ‘Can I build a retaining wall myself?’

At PPC Concrete Products, we are here to provide solutions for your construction needs,

from the person working their own part-time project, to commercial clients, and everyone in-between.

Monthly construction output had risen an estimated 1.6% value in June 2023, and we would like to think our accessible concrete products had a small part to play by giving our clients easy access to reliable and easy-to-use construction solutions.

Are there any laws on retaining walls?

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Yes. Depending on certain factors, there are laws regarding retaining walls. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Height: A wall higher than 2 meters, roughly six and a half feet in height, generally requires planning permission.
  • Proximity: If your wall is within 3.7 meteres, around twelve feet off a road, you would require planning permission, even if the wall is smaller than the aforementioned height. In these instances, the Highways Act 1980 will apply.
  • Building regulation approval generally does not apply to independent freestanding retaining walls. However, you should ensure that the wall is created with stability and safety in mind. If the retaining wall impacts or encroaches on a building or other structure, it may be subject to building regulations.

What’s the point in using an expert for a retaining wall?

What’s the point in using an expert for a retaining wall?

For those who want to save as much money as possible, it may make sense that ditching the use of an expert can be greatly beneficial for the wallet. However, it can be argued that using the services of an expert can save from future repair costs. Here’s what an expert can bring to your retaining wall:

  • Years worth of experience that allows them to make the best choices for the area you would like the retaining wall in.
  • Relationships that may allow them to obtain materials for your retaining wall for a cheaper rate.
  • The ability to accommodate for your needs, and provide guidance and/or alternative solutions if it is not feasible.
  • In some instances an expert workforce that can expedite the construction process.

Please be mindful that the level of services between professionals will vary. Be sure to do your research before employing someone for a retaining wall project.

Can I build a retaining wall by myself?

Yes. It is entirely possible for you to create a retaining wall yourself. In order to achieve the best possible retaining wall, you must be aware of all the processes required, and ensure you are able to do them.

The construction of a retaining wall is not required to be conducted by experts in a private space, and generally would only need planning permission in certain situations. That being said, you should make sure that you have enough time to create a retaining wall, as doing it by yourself can take an exceedingly long time, especially in less than ideal weather conditions.

In every instance, it is good practice to have someone who can look over your work just to be sure that you have done everything properly. For the most part, if the following conditions are met, your retaining wall can be made by yourself with no issue.

  • The material used for the retaining wall is reliable and not cheap and weak.
  • You have planned the retaining wall out in advance.
  • The retaining wall is measured in every relevant instance.
  • Considerations for drainage have been implemented.
  • Relevant permissions have been granted.

Who can’t build a retaining wall?

Although it is completely feasible for someone to make a retaining wall themselves, we would recommend that those who fall within the following categories to not make it themself. As doing so can result in serious lasting injury, or other issues.

  • Anyone with a physical issue that prevents them from digging, carrying, or doing any sort of manual labour.
  • Anyone with an issue or lacking the relevant certifications to use certain mechanical aids when constructing the retaining wall.
  • Those who have little to no experience in building a retaining wall at all. (Although nothing is stopping this person from doing so, by making the retaining wall without guidance, they can end up wasting time, money, and possibly hurt themselves).
  • Anyone who has not received any relevant permissions.
  • Those who want a retaining wall in an area where it is not needed (flat land).

What happens if I build a retaining wall with no help?

This depends on the context of the situation, let us explain.

  1. If you make a retaining wall without obtaining relevant permissions, you may be forced to remove the wall, receive the permission, and if successful, rebuild it. All at your own cost.
  2. If it is made with no help, but is made poorly, it has a high likelihood of eventually toppling over, failing to retain the soil it was holding. This can be especially dangerous if the wall is high, and someone is beside it when it falls.
  3. If made correctly with no help, and using the right materials, the retaining wall should last a number of years with no issue.

Interlocking Concrete Blocks explained

Interlocking Concrete Blocks explained

One of the most effective resources you can use when it comes to creating a retaining wall are Interlocking Concrete Blocks. These special pre-cast blocks do not require mortar in order to create a long-lasting and effective connection.

Interlocking Concrete Blocks connect to each other via studs and recesses at the top and bottom of the blocks, respectively. Individually, concrete blocks are heavy, but once they are joined, they provide an excellent counterweight against exceedingly heavy applications like a retaining wall.

Considering the fact they do not require mortar to connect, it is safe to say you will be saving money that would otherwise be spent on binding materials, and even some labour costs. But what actually makes Interlocking Concrete Blocks special? Well, a lot of things.

Here is a list of some of the uses that Interlocking Concrete Blocks can facilitate.

  • Material Storage bays
  • Blast walls
  • Salt stores
  • Crash protection
  • Push walls
  • Security barriers
  • Segregation bays, i.e. recycling centres
  • Retaining walls
  • Industrial buildings
  • Fire breaks
  • Counterweights
  • Roadblocks

What are the advantages of interlocking concrete blocks?

  • Longer lasting and more durable than a Gabion basket
  • Quicker and less hassle to install
  • No need for mortar, saving you money and time
  • No need for steel reinforcement or shuttering
  • Resistant to extreme weather conditions
  • Fire-resistant properties, mitigating the spread of fire depending on the structure
  • Little maintenance required
  • Often, no foundation is needed before installing

Build a retaining wall today

As an established supplier all over the UK, PPC Concrete Products is always happy to help, which is why we encourage you to get in touch with any questions you may have or have a look at our FAQ.

In this blog, we hope to have provided guidance by answering the question ‘Can I build a retaining wall myself?’ Whilst also providing additional information including construction solutions that we offer.

Take a read of our case studies to truly understand how we have provided solutions for business in the past with the use of our interlocking concrete blocks, and ultimately, how we can help you today.

Read our blog page for more insights into our passion, construction.


The Old Gasworks,

Higginshaw Lane,




Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday – 8 AM until 4 PM

Tel: 01706 655245


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