We completed pouring a cement base to put the retaining wall on. That lets us stack the stones on the base to see how things will look. Along the sidewalk, for example, we have:
This extends up along the sidewalk until it disappears into the ground. All the while it is flat and level, while the ground raises up to the street.
At the same time, it extends from the sidewalk, in front of the house over to the partition wall.
This part of the wall starts 4 stones up on the left near the door (so about 24 inches tall), slowly sinking into the ground until it meets the partition wall at the same level, only 2 stones (12 inches) tall.
The main exception to this smooth flow is in the section next to the sidewalk. Part way down, we want to build a stairway that goes from the sidewalk up to the level that the dirt will be behind the retaining wall. We need a new base for that stairway.
This is a bit hard to visualize. The stairs themselves will be the longest 6x6 blocks we have -- those from 26 inches and up. These stairs will need support to hold them up. We do that by providing two sets of blocks running perpendicular to the stairs.
The stairs then bridge from one set of blocks to the other.
In addition, we need a "box" around the stairs to keep the dirt that will be brought in from falling onto the stairs from the sides.
So this appears to be two separate structures -- a box to hold the dirt back, and in that the stairway.
This completes the rough work for this retaining wall. We have the concrete base. We have the blocks, for both the two sections of the wall and the stairway. This shows that we have enough stone. Now we need to take it all apart, and put it back together, with mortar holding it in place.