Jobsite Considerations: Things to Know Before Installation Begins

A set of simple tools is all you need to build great Allan Block retaining walls.

  • 4 ft Level
  • Torpedo Level
  • Gloves & Knee Pads
  • Rake & Shovel
  • Wheel Barrow
  • Broom
  • Chisel and Hammer
  • Wooden Stakes
  • Hand Tamper
  • Safety Glasses
  • Tape Measure
  • Rubber Mallet
  • String Line

A little bit of planning will make your garden wall project go faster and turn out right.

Lot Lines and Utilities

  • Confirm lot lines and garden wall location. Your local municipality will have a copy of your lot survey on file. The survey will identify property lines and provide a scaled template to help with your site plan.
  • Call your local utility companies to confirm the location of underground utilities. Buried utility lines are not only dangerous, they may prevent you from locating your project where you want.


Managing water around your gardens is important for two reasons: your plantings require good moisture conditions, and proper drainage will prevent water from pooling or running into areas it's not wanted - like your basement.


Good drainage practices are important in any garden or landscape. Slope foundation beds away from the house. Route the downspouts into the bed and under the garden wall to a drainage basket or drywell. Redirecting any concentrated water sources above or at the base of a garden wall will ensure that your garden wall lasts a lifetime.

  • Always grade your flower beds to move water away from the house foundation.
  • Make sure water moves freely off of walkways and patios.
  • Slope areas above the garden wall to send rain water around the sides if possible.
  • Check sprinkler lines before and after construction.


Soil conditions are important in any garden or landscape. Check to see what kind of soil you have before starting.

If you have poor soil conditions, consider removal and replacement. Planting beds need to have 6-12 in. (150 to 305 mm) of well-drained organic soils.

Garden Wall Base / Wall Rock

Wall Rock

Wall Rock

To build a good retaining wall, you need a firm foundation, or base. Plan on using clean, granular rock underneath the base course. Good drainage and compaction will add to the quality and performance of your finished garden wall.

We refer to the material used for the base, within and behind the block as Wall Rock. Crushed or smooth stone, ranging in size from 0.25 in. to 1 in. (6 to 25 mm) is ideal. Your AB dealer will have what you need.