How to Build a Small Retaining Wall

How to Build a Small Retaining Wall

When it comes to retaining walls, they can come in various heights, some being taller than you, and others not even reaching your kneecaps. But why is this? And is the process of making a small retaining wall any different? It can be, depending on the materials you use.

In this blog, we will show you how to build a small retaining wall.

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 by an 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.

The purpose of a retaining wall

A retaining wall is a wall that designed to keep land confined to a slope that it wouldn’t naturally stay in. In essence, it is a safe way to optimise land in public and private settings. Retaining walls can result in many benefits, such as…

  • Creating level land that can be further used to create other structures or installations.
  • Reduces injury risk as nobody is walking on uneven ground any more.
  • Reduces the area from being waterlogged, as retaining walls have drainage within them.
  • Creates an organised aesthetic.
  • Can be made to reinforce or replace an older retaining wall.

And more.

What is the best material to use for a retaining wall?

Retaining walls can be made from wood, though they are generally the weakest option in comparison to others. If not treated correctly, or if the retaining wall is made incorrectly, they can also succumb to water.

Brick retaining walls are a slightly more reliable option, though you would have to have more than one layer of bricks on larger retaining walls. Additionally, the use of mortar can be time-consuming, mortar can also wither away as time goes on.

In our opinion, Interlocking Concrete Blocks are the best solution to make a retaining wall with. Their natural heavier weight makes them a perfect counter against the weight of a retaining wall. They also do not require the use of mortar, as they simply interlock with each other. What’s more is that in most cases, they do not require a foundation before placement.

These benefits not only expedite time, but also guarantee a long-lasting and effective solution as long as the wall is created properly.

How to build a small retaining wall

Can You Move a Retaining Wall?

Please note that the process of creating a small retaining wall will vary purely based on the materials you use, and the location that you intend to create the retaining wall.

In essence, building a small retaining wall is the same as building a larger retaining wall, the only difference is where the height of the wall stops. For the sake of simplicity, we will explain the process using Interlocking Concrete Blocks.


Depending on the length and size of your retaining wall, it will need footings. 300 mm is enough for soil that is firm, though you may need 450 mm if the soil is not firm and unstable. The benefit of Interlocking Concrete Blocks is that they generally do not require a foundation before installation, though this will vary between the jobs at hand.

Preparing backfill

Again, the lengths will vary depending on the job at hand, but you should dig towards the slope, the soil that is removed is making space for gravel, which will be used to assist drainage.

Plant the blocks

Making sure you are aligned, you can begin to place your Interlocking Concrete Blocks. Using larger blocks will require mechanical assistance. Place each block side by side to begin with. The interlocking feature will come when placing the next level of blocks.

Continue until you have reached your desired height.

Place the gravel

Distribute the gravel in the dug area behind the retaining wall. Make sure the gravel is distributed evenly, after this you can add the soil above the gravel.

Please note that this is a very basic outline of constructing a small retaining wall using Interlocking Concrete Blocks. There may be minor to major differences in your process, purely based on the location of the wall and the materials you use. Regardless of the material you use, we strongly recommend seeking professional guidance and/or installation.

Why do you need a small retaining wall?

Admittedly, in most cases, a slight slope isn’t going to be a problem for everybody, so why go to the effort of constructing a small retaining wall? Depending on the area, that slight slope can be a health hazard, like a public path for example, slopes can get muddy and slippery, which increases the risk of injury.

Small retaining walls can also optimise the space of a garden that has slopes within it. The soil behind the wall can be optimised to create a flower bed, or the flat ground and optimised space can result in different structures easily being built in the garden, such as a shed.

Can I use Interlocking Concrete Blocks for any size retaining walls?

Are all concrete blocks the same?

Yes. Our Interlocking Concrete Blocks are available in many sizes. As a result, they can easily be applied for any size of retaining wall. But it doesn’t stop there. Our Interlocking Concrete Blocks have a wide range of applications, which you can discover below.

What else can Interlocking Concrete Blocks be used for?

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

How high can Interlocking Concrete Blocks go?

Our interlocking concrete blocks have the potential to have 5 blocks stacked upon each other. Our standard-sized blocks are 60 cm in height, with 5 stacked together this would equate to 300 cm, which is exactly 9 feet (2.74 m) & 10.11 inches (ca. 26 cm) high. This height is more than enough for applications such as a retaining wall and so much more.

Stacking our Interlocking Concrete Blocks higher than this is unadvisable. Any height beyond the number previously mentioned can compromise the balance of the blocks, which can result in serious injury or death if the blocks fall over someone.

What’s the price of Interlocking Concrete Blocks?

The price of Interlocking Concrete Blocks will vary between projects as the size, amount, and type of blocks you need will vary. For the most accurate quote, we would recommend having the plans for your project on hand, and contacting us directly.

Discussing your plans clearly will give us the best possible understanding, as a result. We can recommend the right blocks for your project. Whether this be in size, aesthetic, or type.

Buy retaining wall blocks today

How much does it cost to make a retaining wall?

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 clearly displayed how to build a small retaining wall, 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.


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Tel: 01706 655245


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