How to Reinforce Stone Retaining Walls

What You'll Need
Ready Mix Concrete

Stone retaining walls are commonly used to hold back a higher elevation of landscape in order to create different contours and usable land. Retaining walls have been used for many years both as walls to hold back the land on the side of a hill, as well as a boundary wall between lands. Building stone retaining walls is not a hard project, but requires quite a bit of hard labor, and attention to how the wall in reinforced.

Reinforcing the stone retaining wall is important when the wall gets up over 3 feet tall. Once the wall goes above this height there must be some precautions taken in order for the wall to withstand the pressure of the earth behind it. Reinforcing stone retaining walls is easily done through positioning rebar and metal ties.

Step 1: Determine Location of Piers

When building stone retaining walls there are a few different rules of thumb that you must adhere to for the wall to have the strength it needs. Much of the reinforcement of the stone retaining wall is going to be done under the ground. Cement piers must be placed in 3 foot intervals along the entire length of the wall. They should also be put on any corners of the stone wall. Before you do any work on the wall you must first determine where the piers should be. Mark the ground in three foot intervals along the length of where the wall will go.

Step 2: Dig Footings

The stone retaining wall will also need to be built on top of a concrete footing. The footing must be as deep as the wall is tall. They will also have an 'L' shape with the bottom part going in under the wall. For example, a three foot stone wall should have a footing that is one foot thick and two feet below the ground. It should also be one foot wide with another foot under the wall. Use a shovel to dig this trench.

Step 3: Pour Concrete and Set Rebar

Once the footings are dug, you will need to pour the concrete into place. Set the rebar on the ground and raise them up about 8 inches. Mix concrete according to directions, or you have the option of having it trucked in. Either way, pour the concrete into the footing and allow it to dry.

Step 4: Pour Piers

After the footings are completed, you will need to move to the piers. These piers are simply holes that are full of concrete and rebar.

Step 5: Install Metal Ties

Walls that exceed a three foot height will need to have some metal ties to hold the integrity of the wall together. The type, and specifications will be noted in the building permits that are needed for this type of wall. However, you will need to use flat metal ties that are in three foot intervals along the length and height. Stone retaining walls that have this type of reinforcement will last for many years without any crumbling and pieces that are falling off.