Retaining Walls – Besser Blocks

If  you want a rendered surface on your retaining wall one of the best ways of achieving this is by using ‘Besser Blocks’.

These are hollow concrete blocks which are designed to incorporate steel reinforcement within the block.

A few  issues when building these walls are:

  • Don’t skimp on the foundation. Even a 600mm high wall will need a concrete foundation 600mm wide by 250mm deep.
  • Make sure that the cement grout is well packed around the steel reinforcement.
  • Buy some of the yellow safety caps you see here to put over  the reinforcement bars and ‘Keep Yourself Safe.
  • Don’t backfill behind the wall for at least a week

besser block 2
As well as free standing retaining walls Besser Blocks are also used as basement walls and to provide structural strength for external walls when building against a slope.

This photograph shows a typical example where the Besser Block wall will provide the external wall of a garage. ( You can also see the builders plastic which will form part of the ‘tanking’ to keep damp from passing through the wall)


See Retaining Walls for other  solutions to slopes


  1. mahesh

    My driveway retaining wall its 800mm high I wants know is 25 MPA CONCRETE IS SUITABLE FOR THE JOB OR SHOULD WE USE 32 MPA CONCRETE

    I informed my concretor footing concrete should be 32mpa and he said yes I used 32mpa concrete, but would like to know how to check the concrete grade. is there any gadget?

    1. Brian Ashworth (Post author)

      I would expect 25Mpa should most likely be fine but the only way of being certain is check the design calculations.
      The only ways of checking are:
      1. Checking the delivery ticket ( The big ready mix companies would not like to be caught cheating) This checks the concrete is the designed mix when it leaves the plant.
      2 Taking a sample from the middle of the pour and having a test cylinder cast, cured and compression tested.

  2. Deanna R. Jones

    Thanks for the information! I want to build a terrace in my backyard to plant a bunch of different types of plants. I’ll need to have a retaining wall built to keep my vegetables in my terrace to be separated from the flower garden I want to have planted right next to it. It seems like knowing more about the issues involved in building a retaining wall will help me to know how to get around them. The first tip about using the right amount of foundation will be particularly helpful. I’ll be sure to use a concrete foundation that’s 600mm wide by 250mm deep since I’ll be building a 600mm high wall.

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