Are you planning on building a retaining wall? We’ve got you covered with our easy-to-follow guide.

Retaining walls can be seen all over the country. They are used for a variety of purposes, from keeping unwanted intruders out, to retaining soil on an inclined slope. They are also a great flood barrier for those living in low-lying areas. All these reasons explain why people are interested in knowing how to build and construct these retaining walls

So, how do you build a retaining wall? Concrete Sleepers Sydney presents an experts’ guide to building a concrete sleeper retaining wall.

Decorative Concrete Sleepers

How do you build a retaining wall?

If you’re planning on building a retaining wall, it’s important to get the basics right. Failure to carry out building instructions as specified lead to walls that are subject to collapse. If you’re not confident that you can complete a retaining wall building project by yourself, enlist the help of a professional.

How long do retaining sleepers last?

Retaining sleepers are meant to last for decades. This is if you purchased quality materials and didn’t take shortcuts with your building project. If you use timber or other wooden sleepers, they will generally fade and weaken faster than their concrete counterparts. How long the sleepers last is also determined by the technique used to build the wall. If you’re working on a DIY project, it’s preferable to use concrete sleepers as they tend to last longer, and they are also easier to build with.

4 Step Plan to Building a Concrete Sleeper Retaining Wall

Our 4 step building plan summarises in a concise manner how to build a concrete sleeper retaining wall. We encourage you to contact us anytime if you need extra guidance.

We recommend 40MPa for concrete sleepers accompanying steel bards (n10 to n12).

So here we go!

Determine the path

First, you need to determine the path the wall will follow. If your intended path is a straight line it is going to be relatively easier to build the wall. If the path curves, make sure you’ve taken this into consideration.

Marking the spacers

Next, you need to run the string-line. Keep the length of the sleepers in mind. Your sleepers will either be 2m or 2.4m in length. We suggest you keep a 10mm gap between sleepers to make the installation easier. A narrower gap makes it hard for the sleepers to settle down into the right position.

Laying down the first sleeper

The initial step in laying down the first sleeper requires you to make a concrete pad-height. The first sleeper needs to sit on this concrete pad-height before the concrete gets dry. This is important to keep the rest of the sleepers in a straight line.


As the first sleeper settles, it’s time to stack the next one on top and so on. Make sure to pack the sleepers with a timber wedge. It will help them to sit tight on the lower sleeper during backfilling.

And that’s it folks.

This is the basic work plan but it still needs proper monitoring, guidance, and further considerations. Get in touch with our experts to make sure you don’t miss anything while building a concrete sleeper retaining wall.