How to Anchor Retaining Walls


Retaining walls improve the function and appearance of a sloped landscape, but they must be properly installed to ensure stability. A wall built with landscape timbers requires anchors, also referred to as deadmen, if it stands over 3 feet tall. Anchors reinforce the wall against the pressure of the soil it retains. Building them entails attaching two lengths of timber together, but installing them takes a few hours and basic carpentry tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Landscape timbers
  • Landscaping screws
  • Drill
  • Gravel
  • 4-by-4-inch boards
  • Circular saw
  • 12-inch spikes
  • Hammer
  • Landscape fabric
  • Scissors
  • Shovel
  • Install the foundation and first three courses of the timber wall with timbers, landscaping screws and a drill. Back-fill any gaps in the foundation with gravel. Tamp the gravel down with a 4-by-4-inch board for drainage.

  • Build a deadman anchor to install every 4 feet down the length of the wall. Use a circular saw to cut two 3-foot lengths of 4-by-4-inch boards for each deadman anchor. Position the boards into a T shape and drive a 12-inch spike through the top of one board into the end of the other with a hammer.

  • Unroll a strip of landscape fabric and cut it with scissors to fit against the back of the wall. Mark the spot on the fabric where the deadmen anchors will hit and cut holes in the fabric in these spots.

  • Lay the fabric against the back of the wall and use a shovel to back-fill the first two courses with gravel and soil. The gravel should fill a 6-inch-wide section directly behind the wall, and the soil should be filled in behind the gravel.

  • Lay the deadmen anchors on top of the back-fill so the long end of each goes through the fabric and against the third course of wall timbers. Hammer 12-inch spikes through the front of the wall into the end of each so the top of the T shape runs parallel to the wall 3 feet away.

  • Stake the ends of the deadmen anchors with 12-inch spikes to secure them to the ground. Back-fill the space around them with gravel and soil and tamp it with the 4-by-4.

  • Continue to build up the walls with landscape timbers until you reach the intended height. Back-fill each course with gravel and soil as you go.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Valueline/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

  • How to Build a Gabion Wall

    You can construct stone walls by assembling rectangular gabion baskets end to end and filling them with rocks. Gabions are wire cages...

  • How to Reinforce Retaining Walls

    Retaining walls are by nature designed to hold back slopes of earth. An improperly engineered retaining wall can fail for a number...

  • How to Install Railroad Tie Walls

    Railroad ties can weigh 100 to 200 lbs., making them a good choice when constructing retaining walls. However, the weight alone does...

  • Ideas & Designs for a Retaining Wall

    Add a retaining wall to accent and border a specific area of the yard. Retaining walls are often built out of natural...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!