Patterned Walls

Add distinction to
your landscape.

Building Patterned Retaining Walls

Patterned retaining walls resemble hand-laid stone walls, and will require a certain level of detail and craftsmanship to construct. Some custom fitting of blocks will be required. Plan on taking a little extra time to build, particularly when building one for the first time.

Choosing the Right Pattern

Both the AB Collection and AB Europa Collections can be used to create a variety of pre-set and random patterns. (See the Pattern Chart for more details). A pre-set pattern is repeated every two or three courses of block.

A single course consists of a full size block, approximately 8 in. (200 mm) high. Random patterns used on a reinforced wall require a level surface every 2 courses for proper installation of geogrid. Check your approved plans for geogrid placement.


Retaining wall with a Dash of Ashlar pattern

Retaining wall with a Dash of Ashlar pattern

Retaining wall pattern installation base

Install base course with full size units and compact

Retaining wall pattern installation grid

Install geogrid

Retaining wall pattern installation

Stack first course of pattern and backfill wall rock in block cores

Retaining wall pattern installation

Compact wall rock and backfill materials parallel to the retaining wall

Retaining wall pattern installation

Compact on blocks first and then the wall rock and backfill materials when the pattern is completed

Retaining wall pattern installation

Install geogrid and additional patterns. Offset patterns to randomize the look

Retaining wall pattern

AB Ashlar Pattern Retaining Wall

retaining wall with pattern

AB Abbey Blend Pattern Retaining Wall

Compact retaining wall with shovel

Compact retaining wall with shovel

retaining wall pattern

AB Abbey Blend patterned retaining wall

A Dash of Ashlar

The AB Collections have been created in modular sizes to allow for easy construction of patterned walls. Selected areas of non-patterned walls can also contain patterns. With the modular design, the blocks can be installed with ease.

Excavation and Installing Base Course

The base course of your patterned retaining wall should always be installed using a full course of full-sized blocks. This will speed the leveling and installation of the first course of the pattern.

Installing Reinforcement

Patterned wall with reinforcement

Patterned wall with reinforcement

Refer to the plans for placement of grid; this example requires grid on top of the base course.

Install the Multi-Course Pattern

The retaining wall example shown here uses a two (2) course pattern. Check the approved plans to determine the best pattern option for the project

Installing the Second Multiple-Course Pattern

Offset the retaining wall patterns

Offset the patterns

Ending and Topping off the Retaining Wall

Ending patterned retaining wall

Ending patterned retaining walls

Patterned walls may be ended with a step-down or a turn-in. When ending a patterned wall, discontinue the pattern and randomly adjust as necessary to meet the site conditions.

Compacting Patterned Retaining Walls


When building curves, the 2 course pattern is easier to work with than the 3 course pattern. The 3 course pattern will require more custom fitting or cutting of blocks to ensure a tight fit.

Inside curved walls are easily constructed by maintaining a tight spacing at the front of the wall face. For tighter radii, it may be necessary to cut out parts of the bottom notch in order for the blocks to fit tightly together. See more on curve installation.

Outside curved walls The wall will “tighten” as the height increases. There are three methods to adjust for the tightening effect:

The best answer is to always use the 2 course pattern when building curves.


Patterned walls with corners

Patterned walls with corners

Outside corners are easily built using AB Corner Blocks.

Note: Always start the base course at the lowest elevation, then beginning additional courses at the corner will minimize cutting.

Inside corners are constructed in the same manner as for non-patterned walls.

retaining wall stairs pattern

Patterned retaining wall with stairs

retaining wall stairs pattern

Patterned retaining wall with stairs


When building steps into patterned walls, use the full-sized AB Blocks for step blocks. See more on stair construction details.


When building a retaining wall always start the base course at the lowest elevation. See more information on base construction.

Construction Tips for Patterned Retaining Walls

Cutting block in half

Cutting block in half