Mark the area where you want to put your wall using wood stakes and landscaping twine. Use landscaping spray paint to mark a line along the string on the ground. It's important to build your retaining wall on a level foundation. Clear the building site of debris, grass and any other material. Starting at the lowest point on the slope behind your staked-off line, use a flat-pointed shovel to dig a trench for the foundation row. The dimensions of the trench will vary depending on the size of your blocks, but plan on making the trench 4" to 6" deep and a little wider than the width of a block. Compact the trench soil, using a hand tamper, and then add a layer of leveling sand and tamp it down.
If you want a gently curving wall, lay down a garden hose or length of rope to guide your excavation instead of stakes and twine. Mark the shape with landscape paint.
Wear heavy work gloves and sturdy boots to protect your hands and feet from injury.
Always bend at the knees and use your legs, not your back, to lift blocks.
Before digging or excavating, be sure you know where underground utility lines are located in your yard. You can find out by contacting your local utility service providers.
Check to see whether or not you need a work permit from your local municipality to construct your retaining wall.