Back when I did the flagstone patio in the back yard, I told myself that I absolutely was never going to do anything like that again...too much crawling around on my knees and heavy lifting. Well, never say never. To build this wall, the first layer of bricks had to be level all the way across. Tom helped get the first bricks at the walkway level, then I did the rest. Each spot has to be either dug out or built up with sand, which requires placing the brick to check to see if it's high or low, removing the brick, adding or subtracting dirt, putting the brick back on, checking the level, removing the brick and adjusting the dirt, etc. Sometimes four or five times are required.
I suppose that professionals level out the whole area first so they don't have to do it that way, but this is the only way I know how.
After the first row is done, the rest is a piece of cake. I had Tom and Reid (the teenager that we hire to help us sometimes) fill the brick holes with sand, then we stacked the second row and filled those with sand. Tom wants to stop with two rows. I think it needs three.
Tom has to do some more grading of the soil so that the water flows down to the brick, then we'll put the river rock along the edge of the brick so that it will (hopefully) be like a dry creek and when it rains, the water will flow away from the foundation, into the creek, and out to the side yard.
When the grading is done to Tom's satisfaction, I'll be able to put some plants in along the foundation. But, guess what I want to do now? Well, actually it's been in my head all along, but I didn't want to admit it. I want to extend that skinny front porch (on the right edge of the above picture) out to the retaining wall with flagstone. Somebody stop me. Quick.