How to Build a Retaining Wall Vegetable Garden

comments (0) July 20th, 2015

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jgthegardener jgthegardener, member
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Building a simple retaining wall to house a vegetable garden is not only fairly simple, but it creates a manicured look to your garden that will make your friends and fellow garden enthusiasts green with envy.

You'll Need:

·       Interlocking wall blocks

·       Sand (or concrete if you want to make it more permanent)

Plot Your Retaining Wall Garden

Your first step is to plot out where your retaining wall will reside. Perhaps you have a hillside that is crying out for vegetables or maybe you want the wall up against your back patio. You can even create a circular wall in the middle of your yard.

Once you've decided where you want the wall, use string to lay out the path you want the wall to take. Make sure you'll be able to reach the vegetables from all sides. For example, if you place the wall up against something else, don't make it so deep that you can't easily reach the plants at the back of the retaining wall garden.

Next, spray paint over the string to mark the area so it is easy to follow.

Dig and Level

The next step is to dig out trenches where you want the wall blocks to be placed and level the dirt in all spots. This can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the job, but it's also one of the most important if you want your wall to be even and uniform all the way around.

If your wall is going to be more than a couple of feet high, you might need to add some drainage pipes. If you're unsure, consult with a landscaping professional to be on the safe side.

Add gravel and go over it with landscaping equipment like a tamper or plate compactor. Check again to make sure the gravel is still level. Adjust as necessary.

Place First Layer of Blocks

Carefully lay the first layer of blocks on top of the compacted gravel. This will serve as a guide to your next layer, so take your time and lay the blocks carefully. Start at the lowest elevation and work your way around.

Stand back and look at that row of blocks. Are there any low spots that need fixed? High spot that need dug out more? Make any adjustments, then stand back and look again. Repeat as many times as necessary to get a perfect first row. Each row should be level to the block next to it, both across the top and from front to back.

Repeat Layers

Go slowly and build up two or three layers to the height of your choice. Fill the retaining wall with nutrient-rich potting soil and plant your vegetables. If you've planned your drainage correctly, the garden should hold enough water to keep your plants healthy but no so much that it threatens to wash away your retaining wall.

Plant vegetables two inches from the blocks as the concrete can hold heat and wither plants on extremely hot days. You can also use a bit of concrete between blocks or metal spikes if you want to further secure them.


With just a little work, you'll have a gorgeous retaining wall that also serves as a convenient garden that will produce an abundance of vegetables for many years to come.

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posted in: landscaping, retaining wall, construction