How To Build A DIY Retaining Wall

Construct a sleeper wall to make a sloping yard more functional

Have you seen the retaining wall Adam Woodhams built in the July 2015 issue of Handyman Magazine
 
In this video, Adam explains how to build a retaining wall using timber sleepers to make a sloping yard much more accessible and useable.
 
Retaining walls can also be an excellent design addition and problem solver. 
 
Use them to add terraces or levels, make paths and create more planting opportunities if your soil is shallow. 
 
By reducing the slope, they also slow water flow, giving it more chance to soak in and making your garden more self-watering and sustainable. 
 
The range of materials for retaining walls varies from natural stone and purpose-designed masonry blocks to bricks and treated pine sleepers.
 

What you need

 
This sloping garden had no proper entry, so two low walls were built to level off the area and form a walkway, and steps were added.
 
Treated pine sleepers are the easy and economical option to build a non-structural retaining wall. 
 
To make one section of wall that is 3m long x 400mm high, you’ll need two 200 x 50mm x 3m sleepers and at least one 200 x 75mm x 2.4m sleeper. Use 50mm thick sleepers for the wall rails and 75mm sleepers for the post
 

Install Drainage

 
Lay slotted Reln Stretch-Drain behind a retaining wall and pull it out to the required length. Make sure it falls slightly in the desired direction.
 
Cap the starting end and connect the output end to unslotted pipe, then run to stormwater or another section of slotted drain shallowly buried in the garden as a watering pipe. 
 
Cover to 50mm deep with blue metal aggregate, add filter or drainage fabric, then backfill behind the wall with soil.
 
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