I'm in the process of replacing a retaining wall that was supporting a small "flower bed" in the front of this house because it had started to lean to the point it was unsafe. Unfortunately, I'm at a bit of a standstill because the type of stone blocks I have to work with have the flanges for offsetting the stone rows to slope backwards. As you can see the in provided picture, the stairs and the concrete wall meet a 90 degree angle. I'd like the wall to be plumb and flush with both the stairs and the concrete wall. This doesn't seem feasible with the standard prefabricated backwards sloping designs because it would create a pretty sizable gap between the wall and the top of the stairs and also look pretty ugly where it would meet the concrete wall.

My question to you guys is how do I construct a completely vertical/plumb wall using the blocks I have while also ensuring I maintain structural integrity of the wall? Can I knock off the flanges and use mortar, rebar, or any other supporting material? I should mention there are three different concrete slabs at the base, in the middle, and near the top of the stairs. The base slab sits only a 1/2" below the top of the first stair. Because of this, I'm not sure if I could even get a solid footing.

Thanks and any help is appreciated!

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  • The blocks can go any of 6 ways up x 4 ways round; all bar one of which will not force a slope. Stack some on the ground in the same orientation as they would build your wall, as an example of why you think this is an issue.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 23 at 14:39
  • 2
    Without a completely different construction technique and considerable reenforcement extending well below ground level, a completely vertical wall in this application will just replicate the failure mode of the first wall you are replacing.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 23 at 15:21
  • ↑ You would basically need an 'inverse buttress' with the slope on the hidden side. I still don't get what those bricks are supposed to do by just sloping one side, unless the intent is you build a 30° wall using them slope face out. You could interlock them by flipping each alternate block which would add a bit of tie strength [that you could equally do with metal ties for $£€ 0.05] but nothing to lateral resistance.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 23 at 16:28
  • @Tetsujin The "landscape blocks" are intended to build a dry-stack wall that slopes back so it's stable as a retaining wall without a bunch of reenforcement, because it's built leaning back into the hill. It generally works. Both the inside and outside "slope" in steps, because each layer is set back further. They are not intended for use free-standing, only as retaining walls. Some systems offer a variety of setback depth and resulting slope.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 23 at 17:57
  • What was the original wall construction? The wall that I can see extending from the porch corner appears to be cast in place concrete.
    – Huesmann
    Apr 24 at 14:24


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