How to Build a Boulder Retaining Wall

How to Build a Boulder Retaining Wall

Retaining Walls comes in different sizes, shapes, and kind. You want to come out of the box by not doing the usual brick retaining wall, you decided that you will have a retaining walls. The thing is that you do not know how to build one or how to even start it. If that is your problem then this article is perfect for you. But first let’s know what is a retaining wall.

Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a structure designed and constructed to resist the lateral pressure of soil, when there is a desired change in ground elevation that exceeds the angle of repose of the soil. A retaining wall is very useful in terms of holding water or earth.


You should first find a location then and excavate the ground approximately 2’ deeper than the proposed front of the wall.

Dig and Level

Dig footing approximately 2’ wide and a depth of a least 8”. To ensure the base you can level it using line level or some kind of leveler that can level the ground.

Compact Loose Soil

Take note about no to loosen dirt at the bottom of the footing. Use a plate tamper or shovel to compact soil if loose.


Now you should fill the footing and spread it evenly so for another leveling

Level Footing

You can level the top gravel and spread the surface evenly for smoothness.


After that, you are now allowed to put boulders. When putting a boulder, you should put the flattest side on top so that it would be easier to put a second layer. When putting the second layer, you should ensure that the wall would be slightly moving back. Ideally, the wall should have a backward angle at approximately 1/2″ to 1′.


Place soil-blocking fabric on the back of the wall and on the dirt bank.


Fill the space behind the wall and the bank with coarse stone, stopping about 8” below the top of the wall.

Pros and Cons of using Boulder as a Retaining Wall


  • Natural visual – These walls are perfect for a country or a rustic home.
  • Convenience – A boulder wall is a very convenient wall to build. In building it does not include a high prized apparatus.
  • Accessible – Boulders of any tint and expanse are tremendously simple to acquire and to add plus, it is not very expensive.
  • Strength– Boulders have a long life, it is used way before the 2000s, so it is to expect that they are not easy to take down.


  • Size – Obviously boulders are quite large, so small places are not suitable for this kind of wall.
  • flexibility – Boulders are very deficient in terms of flexibility.
  • Transportation – Again, boulders are large, if you are not going to hire or just carry them, it would be expected that you will need to cancel making it.
  • Height – Boulder walls lack height.
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