I'm planning to build a small garden wall to replace my current solution for terracing

enter image description here

The wall will be 6m x 0.60m. I am unsure which way to go:

  • brick and mortar solution, which requires a concrete foundation
  • dry stone wall, with basic gravel & sand foundation

I prefer the first for the aesthetics but I don't want to pour concrete. The second is also fine, but I am not sure if I should go for a solution with two lines of bricks like in this image

enter image description here

I prefer having one line of bricks only given the low height of the wall, but it might not retain enough.

  • Do a search for brick bonds - some may be more suitable for your purpose. – Solar Mike Jun 5 '20 at 9:04

Your use of metric measurements leads me to believe you're not in the US. That aside, most US big-box home improvement stores carry retaining wall blocks that are designed to interlock. I'm sure there is something similar where you live.

This website (hosted by a US-based big-box store (no endorsement expressed or implied) has a short tutorial on how to build a block retaining wall roughly .4m tall. Similar techniques could be used to build one a bit higher. Depending on the block you use, you may be able to build taller.

These are instructions for using a block that has a lip on the back so that each one locks against the one below it to prevent them from sliding forward. Blocks similar to this:

enter image description here

Image sourced from article above


  • Layout your line (yours is a simple straight line)
  • Trench about 1/2 a block deep
  • Tamp the ground
  • Fill with "paver base" (crushed rock that compacts well) and tamp that
  • Carefully set the first row of block checking each one for level side-to-side and front-to-back, and checking several blocks for level
  • Start the 2nd row with a 1/2 block (preferably cut with a power saw & masonry blade, though you could chip it in half with a sledge and cold chisel).
  • Continue to build the wall up, checking for level.
  • Lay down some landscape fabric and crushed stone to allow for drainage
  • Use cement adhesive for the top two rows to help them stay put.
  • Put some sort of cap stone on as the top layer, if desired, or just let the block run to the top.

Of course, this type of wall may not meed code for your locale, so you'd have to check on that, but this is a simpler and less expensive method than the "pyramid wall" shown in your drawing, and is quite acceptable in most US jurisdictions.

  • thank you FreeMan. your guess is correct, I’m based in switzerland. the system you describe is quite practical but not many are available where i live. furthermore, the few ones i’ve found are not really great aesthetically. i’ll keep on searching! – malber Jun 5 '20 at 19:09
  • 1
    Sorry to hear this wasn't as helpful as I'd hoped, @malber. Best of lucking in finding something – FreeMan Jun 8 '20 at 12:10
  • it was super helpful, it pointed me to the right conclusion that those blocks are the best solution without a concrete footing. alas, I'll have to deal with pouring concrete I think – malber Jun 8 '20 at 18:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.