Do you care about the curb appeal of your home? Have you heard your neighbors saying that the landscape in the front of your home brings down the value of the properties in your neighborhood? Building a retaining wall around the trees in front of your home will dramatically improve the curb appeal of your home. Not to mention that your neighbors will be your friends once again.

Here is what you need:

  • Stone
  • Lime stone, crushed stone or gravel
  • Masonry cement
  • Level
  • Cotton twine
  • Large nail, pencil or piece of wood
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Measuring tape
  • Manual gravel compactor or a relatively long piece of 4×4
  • Shovel

Oh yes, some light shoveling is involved!

Here are the main steps:

  • Mark a circle around the tree
  • Cut and remove the grass
  • Removing Grass

  • Add gravel and compact it well. Do not forget to wet the gravel thoroughly before compacting! It helps a great deal.
  • Gravel

  • Lay the first row of stones
  • First Row

  • Make sure the stones are properly aligned and leveled
  • Alignment


  • Apply a thin layer of masonry cement on top of the first layer of stones
  • Masonry Cement

  • Lay the next layer of stones
  • Top Stone

  • Repeat the last two steps until you lay the last layer.

Having a chat with a curios neighbor will allow you to have a well deserved break or delay the end result! Do not be surprised if you get kudos from passersby, I did.

The final product

Here is how the final product looks like.

Final Product

Should you front yard has a grading.

Do not despair! While building the retaining wall may be a bit more complex the good new is will need less stones to complete your project.

How many stones do you need?

Typical precut stones suitable for building a retaining wall around a tree have the following dimensions

102 x 203 x 228 (mm)
4 x 8 x 9 (in)

This will yield a full circle with a radius of roughly 2.5 feet (75 cm) and will require about 21 stones per layer.

If your front yard if flat you need 21 stones for each layer your would like to build. A typical retaining wall around a tree would require 3 layers.

If your front yard has a grading, you have to see how many stones you need depending of the grading. In my case I ended up using a total of 55 stones: 9 for the bottom layer, 15 for the middle layer and 21 for the top layer.

Final thoughts

I will share with you a little secret! If you also plant some perennials around the tree, your neighbors will be really impressed and your wife will love you even more. Inexpensive pansy will cut the bill!


Should you like to go wild you can build a retaining wall with a more elaborate shape. I am sure you will get at least the same results.

Support this work, share it with friends ...
Tagged with: