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Show #10/7110. Back Yard Makeover - The Foundation

DIY - Building A Retaining Wall

These materials are widely available and for many homeowners, if you like doing your own projects, it is actually a practical job that they can do. But there are things to keep in mind. Make sure that they look right and make sure that they're safe, especially if you're going more than three or four blocks high. What do we need to be keeping in mind to make sure that we do it correctly? Building it in a residential type situation like this, you can go up to four feet tall without doing a grid and without support. But a lot of people think, okay, I'll just buy some block, try to level it out and move some dirt around and throw the blocks on. That's not the way to do it. It's going to fail if you do that. You've got to dig a correct footer, put some rock in it, then set your first course. You want to start in the low area because you're working your way to the high spots. Start in the low areas then work your way up and then level the top as you finish it off. But you have to get that base in correctly and that first course has to be level. That's what takes the time and that's the most important part of anything, even building a house. The foundation is the most important part of anything when you're building. Once you get that first course leveled and everything, it becomes more simple.

There's a drainage system as well, because since you're building a solid structure you will have water that seeps down through when it rains or from your irrigation system, so you've got to have a drainage system similar to what you would have with a house basement. You always have a drain pipe at the bottom with washed stone, what Tom calls 57 stone, so that the water, when it's hydrostatically moving towards it will fall down in that rock, go into the drainage pipe, exit out and not put pressure on the wall to make it fall over. And that will happen if you don't do that.

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