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View Full Version : Existing landscape, additional ideas needed.


BostonBull
03-14-2009, 04:29 PM
I have a small mulch bed area, that is 2 years old. I am looking for some ideas of what I can do to add to the area, or change in the area. We are currently installing a fence, and it changes the landscape quite a bit when its done.

BostonBull
03-14-2009, 04:30 PM
View from my front porch

BostonBull
03-14-2009, 04:31 PM
View from above.......

BostonBull
03-14-2009, 04:41 PM
Here is a layout of whats there......

-The tree is a Flowering Dogwood
-The Yellow X are Endless Summer, and Blushing bride Hydrangea
-Green X are Azalea
-Red X Viburnum
-Blue X Hydrangea
-Light Blue Golden mound Spirea

I am thinking of moving the Spirea down to the corner of the bed by the house under to the left of the Yellow X Hydrangea. I would add 1 more Azalea in its place.
I also wanted to add 2 more viburnum to that slope in the front.

Where the fends ends and mulch bed begins at the top of the picture is 14'. I was going to dig up all the grass, extend the mulch and maybe put a weeping conifer in the corner.

The mulch bed is 16' tall by about 35' long as is.

I was also thinking of putting a small picket fence, maybe 3' tall, across the top of the mulch bed for looks and property boundry......the house next door is up for sale.

BostonBull
03-14-2009, 05:00 PM
I should add that......The area gets sun in the morning for 2-3 hours, and then again, like you see in the pictures for 2-3 hours. The whole are never gets good sun. The soil is mostly clay/sand. Crap soil really!

LB1234
03-14-2009, 08:49 PM
umnnn...is there grid in that wall. If there is be careful not to hit it. If there isn't, well let's just say you have a lot bigger problems than plant selection and placement.

what type of wall is that...appears to be about 5' tall and I don't see any daylighted pipes and a drainpipe that appears to drop right behind the wall onto the ground. You could be asking for trouble. Perhaps I'm wrong????

BostonBull
03-14-2009, 09:03 PM
I honestly dont know. we bought the house when it was 6 months old. theres crushed stone behind the wall, I dont know how far down, or thick it is.

Is there a way to tell whats there?

Tyler7692
03-14-2009, 09:11 PM
Dunno 'bout the plants but the wall does have a very slight outward bow to it.

BostonBull
03-14-2009, 09:31 PM
not the news I was hoping for!

what can I do to tell what's there, and help the situation?

White Gardens
03-15-2009, 01:34 AM
Ya, unfortunatly I agree with the other posts. That wall doesn't look too sound. Even if it's OK, it might last only a couple of years before it crumbles. I think you should address that issue before doing any plantings.

If you do a wall right, and use geo-grid, you'll end up tearing up most of the berm or hill before your done.

BostonBull
03-15-2009, 07:22 AM
I understand the wall may be compromised. 3 people have said. I have also asked now 3 times what I can do to tell what materials were used, and how to help the situation? You guys seem like knowledgeable hardscapers with experience in retaining walls. So what do I look for and what should be done?

BostonBull
03-15-2009, 07:56 AM
I snapped a few more photos of the wall. I was going to add caps to it, seen in some of the pictures, but that extra weight and $$ is most likely better spent elsewhere.

Maybe a rain barrel in place of the downspout drain pipe, to help with the erosion going on there?

Are there laws/codes on how these walls are to be installed? I am wondering if this was built after the home and not inspected?

White Gardens
03-15-2009, 10:27 AM
In order to check the materials used in the wall, you'll have to break it down to see.

You'll be looking for geo-grid, a mesh material that locks the wall into the hill. Wall block with pegs or lips to help hold it in place. Crushed gravel at the base, 6 inches deep with one row of wall block (minimum) buried for a solid base.

Also check for a drain tile at the bottom of the wall. All retaining walls should have drainage at the base to not allow water to seep through the wall and to help water drain away from the base area.

I've got a diagram I'll scan off this evening if you would like to see it.

LB1234
03-15-2009, 11:16 AM
I'm sorry, my intent was not to cause this huge commotion. Upon further inspection it seems as if the gutter is tied into its seperate drainage system...which is a good thing. Lets just hope they didn't tie it into the wall drainage system (doubtful if there is one)...and no there really is no way to tell without a camera inspection of the line...and I would forget that.

As for the block...there is no way that block should have been used for that height of wall and the purpose of holding back that amount of soil. That appears to be your run of the mill garden wall. Should have been a pinned system with at least two layers of grid (judging from the height) in it. You can check for grid by digging down and seeing if you hit a black plastic looking fence that is laid down. Its impossible for a you to tear out but you an damage it with a shovel or worse an auger bit.

IMHO, its very easy to check by going down to the town and seeing if they have any zoning or building permits on file for this wall. If they did have building permits chances are there is a drawing of what's the wall is comprised of...I highly doubt it but you never know.

Good Luck.

BostonBull
03-15-2009, 01:08 PM
Thanks for the advice guys.

As visible the blocks do have lips, and there is crushed stone at the top. When I planted the Azaleas, and Spirea, the crushed stone was 1'-2' deep. It was 2' thick, from the wall into the planting bed. I can see inside the middle of the wall, and there doesn't appear to be anything behind there, but its really dark. I never have huge amounts of water draining THROUGH the wall, no matter how heavy the rainfall is. I do however have moist stones a day or two after, like you see in the photos I took early this morning.

My thinking, and maybe I am wrong, if I ADD planting stock to the hill, it will help with any erosion, keep the hill intact, and work to suck up any rainfall before it gets to the wall.....?

Will adding caps to the wall help? hurt? no difference? I like the look of the caps you see in picture #1 from today.

Isobel
03-15-2009, 05:47 PM
My thinking, and maybe I am wrong, if I ADD planting stock to the hill, it will help with any erosion, keep the hill intact, and work to suck up any rainfall before it gets to the wall.....?



If the wall collapses no amount of planting that you do on the hill will stabilize that amount of soil.

BostonBull
03-15-2009, 07:32 PM
Until the wall falls over, here is what I was thinking of doing...need some help/ideas though!

LB1234
03-15-2009, 08:16 PM
My thinking, and maybe I am wrong, if I ADD planting stock to the hill, it will help with any erosion, keep the hill intact, and work to suck up any rainfall before it gets to the wall.....?

Will adding caps to the wall help? hurt? no difference? I like the look of the caps you see in picture #1 from today.

It will do nothing for the stability of the wall. In fact be carefull when watering. One night forgeting about turning the water off will not be good.

I don't believe caps will do anything positive or negative for wall integrity. Aestitics yes.

White Gardens
03-16-2009, 01:02 PM
If the wall collapses no amount of planting that you do on the hill will stabilize that amount of soil.

Hey Isobel, haven't seen you around much.

I agree

If the wall is done right it will last as long as the concrete for the blocks.

If the gravel was only two inches deep, then it's not going to work.

BostonBull
03-16-2009, 04:14 PM
Hey Isobel, haven't seen you around much.

I agree

If the wall is done right it will last as long as the concrete for the blocks.

If the gravel was only two inches deep, then it's not going to work.

Understood, though I am not happy about it! Builder really took us for a ride on this place!!!


What are some of your suggestion on my proposed plans above?