Building Stone Retaining Wall

Building Stone Retaining Wall

For licensing or permission to use videos, contact us at:


Retaining walls are used to create a transition from one level of the ground to another. By cutting into a slope and allowing for level ground both above and below the wall, retaining walls increase the amount of flat, usable ground in a yard. Building a retaining wall is suitable for DIYers as long as the wall is a maximum of 3 feet tall (in most areas). Anything taller should be handled by professionals.

The easiest way to build a stone retaining wall is to use the dry-stack method that requires no mortar between stones and does not need a concrete footing as mortared walls do. Dry-stack walls also drain well, allowing water to pass through the wall itself. This helps reduce hydrostatic pressure imposed by wet soil behind the wall, which is the most common cause of retaining wall failure. Backfilling the wall with rock promotes drainage through the wall and prevents soil from pushing through the cracks in the wall’s stones.