08 June 2009

Planning Your Tiered Retaining Wall

This is the first in a long series of articles that will take you step-by-step through the phases of installing tiers in your existing berm.

photo of berm before work is begun

Things You Will Need...

  • Paper and pencil

  • Tape measure

  • Camera

  • Calculator

  • An old garden hose

  • Spray paint

The first thing to do is to take a picture of your project. This has the benefit of acting as a reference during the construction and also serves as a great showpiece for you.

  • Take a tape measure and measure the length of your project and mark it down on your paper

  • Measure the width of your berm

  • Decide how many tiers you will actually need and how far apart they will be placed

  • Decide whether or not you will be putting steps in your berm

  • Decide if you are going to be installing sprinklers or some other irrigation system

  • If your wall is going to be higher than four feet, you will need to look into a geo-grid system to help strengthen your wall

  • Find out if you need a building permit

  • Decide if you are going to be installing any landscape lighting

  • Sit down and make a list of all the materials you will need. This will include everything from the gravel to the actual retaining wall stones

  • Once you have your list of supplies, it is time to actually mark the layout of your wall

  • Take an old garden hose and run it along the length of the proposed wall. Place the hose in the shape you want your outer wall to be, ie. straight or with curves

  • Once you are satisfied with the placement, take the spray paint and spray along the outer edge of the hose

  • This will be your guideline throughout the project

  • Next, you will need to calculate the number of retaining wall stones you will need

Be advised, the first layer in each tier will be underground and not visible, which means it will not add to the height of your wall.

I hope this helps you get started in the planning of your project. As always, if you have any questions, please let me know and I will do my best to help you.


  1. Thanks for the great information! My husband has been trying to decide whether to do this on our back slope or not, I'll point him in this direction and maybe it'll help him make up his mind.

  2. Leigh: You're welcome. I've been putting-off doing this for several years, because it's going to be a bear of a job. Good luck with your project, now I just need to start mine:)

  3. Phew, I need a nap now! That's hard work!

  4. BeadedTail: Yeah, I think I may need to take a few days off before returning to the work:)

  5. Surfing on the web, I was so much impressed to find the exact information I was looking for. Thanks for providing such precious ditails on constructing a berm.

  6. free flash mp3 player25 June, 2011 15:49

    free flash mp3 player said...

    I have never constructed a berm by myself but your detailed plan makes me want to do it.

    Comment edited to remove dead/broken link.

    Comment originally written on...
    11 June, 2009 05:40


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