Walls – Can a retaining wall follow a slope


We've got a 50' stretch of yard that has a very gentle side to side slope that we can't easily eliminate (fences on each side built at different heights). We want to build a retaining wall along that stretch. The wall will be 6" to 10" high. (Two or three layers of 4" block with the first layer dug 2" below the lower elevation.)

Can a retaining wall be built at a gentle side to side angle so that the top of the wall is flush to the gently sloping level of the higher elevation? We'd like to avoid stepping the wall. Are there any special considerations for a wall such as this?

Edit: the reason I'm asking is, much of what I've read says it's important that the first course of blocks is level both front to back and side to side.

Edit 2: Mark's post taught me you can add photos, so here are some:

From the house

Along the wall high to low

Along the wall low to high

Best Answer

I built a retaining wall in a situation very similar to what you described. In my case the wall drops approximately 12" over 40 feet. It has 3 courses of 6" Keystone wall blocks. The first course is mostly buried and the wall is about 12" high over most of it's length. I also put about 4" - 5" inches of drain rock behind it with a landscape fabric barrier.

This was 15 years ago and it seems to be holding up just fine. I would hope that the 4" blocks you want to use will be ok. However, I've worked with that size some doing garden walls and they are definitely less stable than the bigger blocks.

One other consideration here is aesthetics. Make sure looking at a retaining wall that isn't level doesn't bug you! Sometimes I look at mine and wish I had installed it level and stepped it down instead.

In the area where I live we have an assortment of gravity block retaining walls and the ones that follow the slope usually don't look as good in my opinion.

Here is a photo for reference: enter image description here