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How to build a Copper Log retaining wall

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A retaining wall is usually built to stop soil from breaking away from earth that has been excavated. It can be built out of many types of building materials such as timber, concrete, rocks, bricks or interlocking blocks. It can significantly alter the contours of your yard or garden. The following steps outline a low brick retaining wall. Should you need a retaining wall that is greater than .5m


  • Posthole digger
  • hammer
  • spirit or water level
  • shovel
  • wheelbarrow
  • water hose

Step 1

Work out where and why you want a retaining wall: is it on your boundary, is it to level your backyard, is it for a garden bed or is it to stop your house from sliding away.

Step 2

Decide on your building material. More often than not the decision on the material to be used is an aesthetic one.

Step 3

For a retaining wall up to 500mm use 200mm posts.

Step 4

Mark the area where the retaining wall is to be built. Using a posthole digger with a 250mmor 300mm drill,l dig a hole at the beginning of your retaining wall and then at a minimum of 1500mm spacings and one at the end of where your retaining wall is to finish. Generally the depth of the post in the ground should be half the total height of the post out of the ground.

Step 5

Using quickset premix concrete bags place the posts in the ground fill the hole with dry premix concrete. Then mix water in with the dry premix concrete. Using a spirit level make sure the post is plumb. Mix the water in thoroughly through the dry premix concrete. Then repeat the process.

Step 6

Now begin to nail the 150mm half posts to the inside of the post ie between the soil to be retained and the post. The rounded side should face out away from the retaining wall. Use 100mm galvanised nails.

Step 7

Place an agricultural line at the base behind the retaining wall. Make sure you connect it to the stormwater line (use a plumber).

Step 8

Backfill to the required height.


If your yard's got drainage problems, you're probably best off consulting a contractor. Whatever you do, make sure water doesn't drain toward the foundation of your house.

A retaining wall is like a dam: The higher the wall and the heavier the soil behind it, the greater the pressure on the wall. Most retaining walls over 1metre and less in some areas are thus subject to some kind of permit process; this is taken more seriously in areas of seismic activity, where walls must be able to withstand shock loads in addition to everything else. Check with your local council for the regulations before you start.

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