Hi All: I am building a paver patio in my backyard (primarily so that kids can use it for playing). I need some advise on the best way to do it. The size of the patio would be large: 26ft by 18ft. My backyard has slope in both the directions as shown in the figure. enter image description here

I already built a retaining wall on the right edge and on the far end of the backyard for uniformity. The wall is not too high - about one feet above ground at the far right corner which is the lowest point. I used the cement blocks as shown in the figure for the retaining wall. I put one step in the retaining wall at about the middle of the right edge so that the patio can be built sloping downwards away from the house (for drainage). The blocks of the retaining wall at any one level are all at the same horizontal level. Now the issue is I want the patio to be flush with no step in it as I feel the patio will look better if there is no step and I believe it is safer to walk. What is the best way to build the rest of my patio (if it even makes sense)?

One way that I could think of is to add 2 inch thick blocks on top of the retaining wall to cap the wall in such a way that the blocks follow a gentle slope all along the 26ft of the wall while hiding the step. And use mortar to fill the gap between the wall and the cap as shown in the figure. The 2 inch paver stones that I would be using will be held in place by the cap all around. Now I am not sure if it is a good idea. I don't have much experience using mortar/concrete mix. Is there a better way? If using mortar works fine, any tips on doing it properly. Also, what kind of mortar/concrete mix is the best choice for the work? Any advise is greatly appreciated.

1 Answer 1


If you can't add a coarse of block from the step out to the end, so that the top of the entire block wall is all the same, then I would consider removing the blocks from the step out and excavating to lower them down so that you can.

To accomplish water runoff you can:

  • build the retaining wall perfectly level then hump the patio pavers higher by an inch or two about 2/3 of the way down the middle from the house out,
  • pitch the entire retaining wall in a direction as if it were one monolithic thing
  • or a combination of the two.
  • 1
    Thanks for your reply. I can certainly add another coarse block out to the end and make the wall perfectly level. Pitching the retaining wall at this stage is not an option I think. So I guess the other option you suggested: humping the pavers higher to add slope within the pavers is the way to go. If I go with this approach, I guess I still need to add pitch to the wall cap to align with the pavers, right? I guess, I would still need mortar to build the slope. Is building slope on a perfectly level wall easier than building a slope with a step in it? I guess it is.
    – Dadi
    May 29, 2017 at 18:41
  • 1
    If you live in a climate where the ground freezes and thaws and your wall blocks aren't sitting on a concrete foundation that's below the frost level, mortar would eventually crack and crumble. If it doesn't freeze where you live, I don't know how it would hold up, but the cap stones of retaining walls are usually held in place with construction adhesive. You could still tilt them out slightly if you wanted to by placing pieces of something that's about 1/8" thick on the inside as you glued them down.
    – Rand
    May 29, 2017 at 23:28

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