Building A Raised Patio With Retaining Wall Block

A wooden deck… or a raised patio?

A picture is worth a thousand words… But we just need three: Raised. Patio. Please!

raised patio

We all can dream a little. But a raised patio with retaining wall block has several advantages over a simple wooden deck. First and foremost, the creativity is limitless because a raised patio can be designed with a personal touch. The possibilities are endless… from corners, curves, stairs, angles, slopes and levels. If you can envision it, you can create a raised patio with retaining wall block. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Two other advantages of having a raised patio are:

  • Lower maintenance costs and effort
  • The occasional squirrel, raccoon or opossum [insert varmint of choice here] won’t be nesting or marauding underneath

There are several ways to construct a raised patio with retaining wall blocks, but it really depends on the design style and contours of the site. Therefore, construction is best done by professionals. That said, below is a very general outline of things to consider when building a raised patio with retaining wall block.

Consulting The Professionals

Again, before you start construction, you should check with your local municipality’s building codes… And we recommend consulting a licensed engineer before starting to build a raised patio with retaining wall block. Some of the first things you should consider are soil erosion, water management and adjacent structures. Once you have taken all of these under advisement, construction is a go for the raised patio of your dreams!

Foundations First

Select the foundation site carefully. A raised patio built with retaining wall block is only as good as its foundation. Selecting the foundation site is one of the most critical early decisions. A determination should be made by a professional engineer concerning the foundation’s soil to ensure that it is able to support the patio and retaining wall. The engineer should also take into consideration any adjacent features or structures, such as garages. Additional considerations will have to be made if the patio is against the house foundation (i.e. drainage, soil and erosion).  

  • All the slopes above and below the proposed patio should be taken into consideration in the drawings. These slopes will affect drainage, support and erosion.
  • Conduct an assessment of the soil composition. One overlooked aspect of soil composition is that there may be multiple types of soil on the site. Different soil properties will have an effect on erosion rates, drainage and movement.
  • Check for any evidence of landfill or septic tanks (water wells).
  • Check the site for utility lines (i.e. cable, electric, gas). Call before you dig!
  • Will there need to be irrigation during construction?
  • How will the site be irrigated after construction?
  • Do the drawings include drainage pipes?

We Are Go For A Patio!

Here are some general steps of constructing a raised patio with retaining wall block. In general, the retaining walls would be installed first, then the patio floor filled in later. However, depending on your design, some steps may be reversed. Again, a professional engineer should make the final determination.

  1. Design and location
    Designing your raised patio is the inspiring part. Once you have the plans, and determined the location, you should stake the location. Use rope, twine or even a flexible garden hose for the curves. The area must then be excavated making sure to remove all the vegetation from within. Again, before you start digging, please consult a professional.
  2. Build a base trench
    The base trench should be started at the lowest point. The specifications may depend on the size and shape of the patio and the depth will depend on the height of the wall. The base trench and the patio area should be compacted (preferably with a plate compactor). This step is critical as this compacted area will make up the base for the wall and the patio. Remember, proper drainage from the patio and retaining walls is important. Installing a drainage system is also key.
  3. Build the wall
    The retaining wall will be constructed in a similar manner according to the specifications listed in our manual. Remember, higher walls will require different specifications for thickness.
  4. Build the patio
    The patio flooring can be pavers, natural stone, bricks or concrete. What you use will determine how it is installed.

One special note for patios, especially those adjacent to the house foundation: The water must drain away from the foundation. Some experts recommend patios be no less than 1% slope away from the house foundation.


Our blocks can transform any outdoor space into a unique masterpiece… The options are truly LIMITLESS. For everything you need to plan, design and build the perfect garden or retaining wall for your next project, contact us today: (919) 562-5005

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