Sharing all our tips & tricks for how to build an awesome and easy DIY wood retaining wall with step by step instructions and pictures.
Table of Contents
Step by Step Instructions for Building a Wood Retaining Wall
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We have been busy building a wood retaining wall to hold back the dirt around our soon to be new brick patio and patio garden.
Why to Build a Wood Retaining Wall?
Over the years the dirt had fallen down under the deck covering the original brick patio.
It was important to build a wood retaining wall to permanently hold the dirt back from what will be our new brick patio and sunken patio garden.
Supplies & Tools Needed for to Build a DIY Wood Retaining Wall
The amount of supplies you need will really be determined by how big (wide and deep and tall) you want your wood retaining wall design to be.
- 8 & 10 foot pressure treated 6 by 6 posts (we bought 38)
- enough gravel to go under your retaining wall & behind the wall
- wheel barrel & shovel to dump the gravel
- landscape fabric
- large level
- large square ruler
- large galvanized nails
- screwdriver to make pre-drill holes in the wood for the rebar
The Size of our DIY Wood Retaining Wall
Our DIY wood retaining wall is approximately 16 feet deep by 22 feet wide by 2 feet high for the brick patio (not including the wood retaining wall we added to hold our hot tub).
How to Build a Wood Retaining Wall for a Patio Garden
Before you start, it’s important to figure out how tall & wide you want your wood retaining wall to be.
Last week we had a delivery of many (38) – 8 and 10 foot pressure treated 6 by 6 posts to use for our wood retaining wall.
The delivery guy was kind enough to leave the timbers close to the project which has saved us having to carry these heavy beams from our driveway.
Building the DIY Wood Retaining Wall for our Hot Tub
We started laying the wood timbers where we plan on putting our hot tub.
Laying down the Gravel Bed for the Wood Retaining Wall
Before the wood can go down we needed to lay a gravel bed so the wall won’t move when the ground freezes and thaws over the winter.
The kids were put to work filling the wheel barrel with gravel to lay both under the wood as well as behind the wood retaining wall.
Adding Landscape Fabric to Help with Drainage
I added landscape fabric along with the gravel to help with drainage and keep the dirt and the weeds from touching or coming through the gaps in the wood retaining wall.
Making sure your Retaining Wall is Square & Level
Next we needed to make sure that the wood timbers were square and level.
This steps also seems to take forever 🙂 Notice the kids in the pic!
Once the first row is level all the other wood beams go up quickly.
Adding Large Galvanized Nails & Rebar to Secure your Retaining Wall
Jason made sure to secure the wood timbers with giant nails and rebar as we added each level of boards.
Pre-drill your holes for the rebar to get hammered in.
We decided that 4 boards was as high of the diy wood retaining wall design wanted & we needed to go based on the dirt level around the patio.
I can’t wait to start leveling out the dirt behind the retaining wall & get to landscaping it.
I am excited to add some evergreens & flowers to give us a little privacy & contrast the texture of the wood & stone.
Thanks to the wood retaining wall our new backyard patio is starting to take shape.
The end of this crazy DIY patio project is finally in sight!
We still have to move that darn hot tub into our new hot tub space (you can see how we moved our hot tub with just 2 people HERE) and level the rest of the patio so we can lay down the reclaimed brick & flagstone.
Here is a look of what we have done so far with our crazy backyard DIY patio project and what we still have planned!
Our Plan for this DIY Sunken Patio Design
Demo Deck(read about demoing our deck HERE) Save Brick from Previous Patio Dig an 8 foot by 8 foot space for our Hot Tub Build a retaining wall around the sunken patio
- Move the Hot Tub (we moved our hot tub with just 2 people HERE)
- Level the Ground inside the Patio
- Use Reclaimed Brick (Brick Patio HERE )
- Build a Flagstone Patio (HERE)
- Landscape around Sunken Patio (we landscaped the patio wall HERE)
- Bring the Outdoor Furniture Back and Decorate
Backyard Brick & Flagstone Patio with Wood Retaining Wall Reveal HERE
I hope this inspires you & answers all your questions for how easy it is to build a wood retaining wall in your backyard.
by Tara Lehman
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