How to Build a Windsor Wall

A Windsor wall is a retaining wall made with the distinctive Windsor bricks, which are solid and rough-hewn in appearance and about the size of a standard cider block. They lend themselves to decorative landscape and retaining walls with their rough finish on three facing sides, which allow a builder to add interesting angles to the completed job. Ground preparations are vital for a quality job, and accurate work at every step will ensure an even and satisfying final product and an attractive retaining wall.

Step 1

Mark out where the wall will go with stakes and a string line. If you are going for curves, and Windsor blocks are ideal for this, lay out the contours with a garden hose on the ground and then mark the location with spray paint.

Step 2

Dig a trench about 12 to 18 inches wide and about 5 to 6 inches deep for the leveling pad. Keep the bottom of the pad level and compacted, by removing all lose earth.

Step 3

Place gravel aggregate along the bottom of the trench and compact it with a hand tamper or with the back of a block. Make it as firm as possible because this will be the wall's foundation.

Step 4

Lay the first course at the front of the compacted gravel aggregate. Tap the blocks into place with a rubber mallet and keep the blocks butted tightly together.

Step 5

Backfill behind the first course to consolidate the retaining wall. Use drainage aggregate of the sides in the base trench. Level off slightly below the level of the first course. If needed, install a 4-inch (100 millimeter) drainage pipe, with outlets to the stormwater system every 60 feet.

Step 6

Lay the next course, offsetting the blocks so you start with a half block. Each block will sit over two, covering the gap between them. Cut the blocks by scoring a small cut where you want them to crack and then hit the crack with a cold chisel and mallet. Backfill after every course.

About the Author

Rose Darling has been writing since 1984, covering entertainment, travel and home-and-family topics. Her articles have appeared in publications in Ohio and New Zealand, as well as online. Darling graduated from Western Illinois University, earning a B.A. with emphasis on anthropology, and is currently completing her master's degree.