contractors designers

Finishing Your Retaining Wall    finishing wall

Allan Block offers a great variety of finishing options for your retaining wall.

Stepping Down Your Retaining Wall

retaining wall step down - curve

Step down curves

retaining wall step down - planter

Step down doubles as planters

retaining wall step down - corner block

Full course step down: use corner blocks

retaining wall step down - gradual

Gradual step down: use half-high blocks

Walls with step downs can be easily finished by adding an additional capstone or a half high block, or turning the ends back into the hillside.


  • For a gradual step down, use the half-high blocks - AB Lite Stone from the AB Collection.
  • For a full course step down, use the AB Corner Blocks see below for details.
  • For a step down that doubles as a planter, turn the wall in 2 or 3 blocks after a corner.
  • Create a soft ending to the wall by using an inside curve while stepping down.


Patterned retaining wall with step downs

Patterned retaining wall with step downs

Retaining Wall Turn-ins

retaining wall turn-in planter

Curved turn-in doubles as a planter

Retaining wall curves into the hillside

Retaining wall curves into the hillside

Retaining wall turns into the hillside

Retaining wall turns into the hillside

The simplest and easiest method of ending an Allan Block retaining wall is to use smooth flowing curves that turn back into the hillside. The benefits of curving the retaining wall back into the hillside include:


  • For a graceful, flowing end to the wall, curve the wall to create a plantable area that can soften the look of the retaining wall.
  • For a natural flow into the landscape curve the wall back into the hillside. TIP: The benefits of curving the wall back into the hillside include:
    • Less Time and Expense to Build
    • No Need for Corner Blocks
    • Superior Erosion Control
    • Attractive Design

When building a turn-in, a base trench will need to be excavated, backfilled and compacted, the same as the base course of blocks.

Retaining wall with turn-ins

Retaining wall with turn-ins

retaining wall turn-in

Install blocks and compact turn-in

retaining wall turn-in

Retaining wall with turn-ins


Proper backfilling and compaction is important, where the wall turns back into the slope. To ensure the turn-in area doesn’t settle differently than the rest of the wall, make sure the entire area below the new base is compacted thoroughly.