What Tools Do I Need to Install a Retaining Wall?

Summertime is backyard improvement season for homeowners and it seems that many people enjoy the cost savings and sense of satisfaction of completing a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) landscaping project.  Building with retaining wall block is a popular choice for DIY landscaping projects ranging from raised garden beds to taming hillsides and creating terraces or stairways. Not sure what you want to build? Here are some retaining wall ideas and inspiration projects.

For the DIY enthusiast, the good news is that most of the tools you will need to build retaining wall projects are common.


Round point shovel
This is helpful for when you have plants to move, digging and starting a footing.

Square blade shovel
Good for putting in aggregates like gravel or sand and grading the area.

Helpful to level out the base rock.

Tamping down areas.

Determine if the work area and retaining wall rows are level.

It may be helpful to have a mallet and a 5-pound maul to drive stakes into the ground.

You might not need this, depending on your type of soil. Picks are useful to loosen hard and rocky soil.

Caulking gun and adhesive
These optional items will be useful if you want to glue finishing caps or add steps

Here’s a quick video about the tools you’ll want for installing retaining walls. This short video is part of an entire series of retaining wall installation videos that you can find on our website.