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View Full Version : Looking for advise on building and bidding a retaining wall


Barrett Landscaping
07-28-2011, 08:05 PM
Just got back from looking at a client's yard where they want to have a retaining wall built. The dimensions are 75' by 3' tall above ground. I know that I will need to have the area dug out with a mini ex and set the foundation and go from there. My question is what are you guys getting on average per linear square foot? Also, although this is a relatively low wall, do you think i need geogrid since it has erosion? I am relatively new to doing walls but want to learn. Here are some pics. Please let me know what you think.

Barrett Landscaping
07-28-2011, 08:13 PM
and some more....

Barrett Landscaping
07-29-2011, 08:20 AM
bump on up

jonesy5149
07-29-2011, 09:23 PM
ok here is one??????
Are you keeping all those trees on the top of the wall??

BradLewisLawnCare
07-29-2011, 09:43 PM
Versa-look.com read. That's what I use.
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Barrett Landscaping
07-29-2011, 11:11 PM
ideally i want to keep as many trees as possible. dont want to remove many since they help hold the hill. do you guys think that i need geogrid although this is a smaller wall?

BradLewisLawnCare
07-30-2011, 10:47 AM
geogrid is cheap compared to the wall. I would include it every time. If it starts tipping, you will have wished you put it in when/if they call you.

Barrett Landscaping
07-30-2011, 01:45 PM
thats what i was thinking... i know that that does mean that i need o dig another 3 feet into the hill, but time is money. if i use geogrid, how do you guys factor that into your bid? I was planing on charging $20/ linear foot but that would not factor in geogrid

Bru75
07-30-2011, 03:53 PM
$20.00 per linear foot will barely buy the blocks.
Forget about linear or square foot pricing, you'll lose your a$$ that way. Figure up your time + material cost + machinery cost + overhead + profit.

DVS Hardscaper
07-30-2011, 04:36 PM
Correct.

Forget about this per linear foot and per square foot and per nautical mile crap.

Jobs are priced based on calculated materials required and estimated production hrs.

.
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Barrett Landscaping
07-30-2011, 05:20 PM
ok well i was thinking a ballpark of $7000 - $7500 without geo grid, assuming that me and my crew do it in 3 days. once again... is this a fair price and how should i factor the grid into the cost?

BradLewisLawnCare
07-30-2011, 06:44 PM
if the total wall was 3 feet tall meaning the first .5 foot or more in the ground is calculated in that id be around $6800 for the whole thing. If it is 75x4 1 ft in ground id be around $9k. I price usually between $20-$25 per block. versa-lok that is. and I count the buried ones. But there are other considerations so time and materials isn't such a bad way to consider. That includes geogrid.

Barrett Landscaping
07-30-2011, 07:05 PM
ok that is on track i guess with what i was thinking.... i was thinking about using allen block since i know someone that works at the localdealer who may get me a discount. is there any advantage over versa-lok?

BradLewisLawnCare
07-30-2011, 11:24 PM
Both made by engineers. I'd read both and see what you believe in. If you feel confident in one or other then sell that. I like the versalok pin system. Makes sense to me.
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Barrett Landscaping
07-31-2011, 08:47 AM
ok that was the only difference that i saw. thanks

DVS Hardscaper
07-31-2011, 10:42 AM
.....there are other considerations so time and materials isn't such a bad way to consider.......


I try to be careful with what I diseminate on the www. So with that said, I believe most veteran guys here will say "it's the only way"........

For the TC (topic creator), you're first wall isn't going to be a money maker. It's going to be a learning experience. Ha - our first wall was a nightmare, 3' high, at the edge of a pool deck, no space to work.

Barrett Landscaping
07-31-2011, 11:01 AM
yeah i realize that im not going to make a killing on it, but i want to learn and do it right. am i right on thinking that i will need around 30 yards of crusher run to back fill?

DVS Hardscaper
07-31-2011, 11:22 AM
yeah i realize that im not going to make a killing on it, but i want to learn and do it right. am i right on thinking that i will need around 30 yards of crusher run to back fill?

Why can't you use soil for backfill?

Behind the wall you need a 12 to 18 inch wide drainage chimney, using clean 3/4-inch aggregate. And from there you can use compactable soil.


,

Barrett Landscaping
07-31-2011, 01:09 PM
ok i was under the impressino that i needed to use crusher run for the whole lenghth of the geogrid. that makes it alot easier. if thats the case i will only need like 10-12 yards probably.

DVS Hardscaper
07-31-2011, 05:13 PM
Technically, it should be whats referred to as "structural fill". Meaning it will achieve the minimum compaction density ratings. You do NOT want to use soil that is high in clay content for backfill. And in which case if all you have is clay soils, then you may have to use crusher run.

When using soil and using grid, any rocks bigger than 3" diameter should be removed. I usually tell my guys any rocks bigger than their fist, pull it out.

And a small wall like this, we'd probably compact the backfill with plate compactor.



.

Barrett Landscaping
07-31-2011, 08:14 PM
ok thanks. i figured on using a compactor already

silverado212
07-31-2011, 09:11 PM
Ha that yard looks familiar. just kidding, AB website has a calculator that is helpful

BradLewisLawnCare
07-31-2011, 11:27 PM
I try to be careful with what I diseminate on the www. So with that said, I believe most veteran guys here will say "it's the only way"........

For the TC (topic creator), you're first wall isn't going to be a money maker. It's going to be a learning experience. Ha - our first wall was a nightmare, 3' high, at the edge of a pool deck, no space to work.

Very true.. Most people do create and implement there pricing systems that work for them every time and achieve their profit goals. I do mine by the amount of block installed along with a minimum charge in case the number installed is too low. I would assume either way could work as long as you understand costs and align them with pricing. But I bet you guys do do more hardscaping Than I. But I have never lost money on a masonry or landscaping project. If you price correctly it can be a money maker.
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Remington351
08-08-2011, 05:06 PM
Barrett,
I just saw your post and wanted to chime in on a couple of concerns, especially since this is your first wall. I've built about 300ft of wall so far, but mostly retaining flower beds and 2-3' no slope load conditions.

My concern is with your design of a 3' wall to retain what appears to be a significant slope. When looking at pics 4-6 i see a steel milk jug in the foreground. Assuming the jug is anywhere from 20-30" tall makes the adjacent slope appear to be as high as five, six, or maybe even seven feet tall. Also the stones in pic 8 that are stacked on the ground look to be between 6-10" thick each for a total of 18-24", which again makes the slope above look considerably higher. If your plan was to build a 3' wall to retain or slow the encroachment of the slope above... I think your're setting the wall up for failure in the future.

Hopefully some of the more experienced builders here will take a second look. But if the slope is indeed upwards of 5-7' you are looking at a much more expensive wall.

Barrett Landscaping
08-08-2011, 08:02 PM
everyone.... the slope is a little misleading in the pic... there is the erosion and then it tapers off if that makes sense. I had an engineer come out and look at it from one of my suppliers. after drilling the area he tole me that I would need to go down 5ft and into the hill 5ft to do the wall. After hearing this I passed the lead onto a contractor to sub it out instead. There was more than met the eye with this wall but I have still learned alot in the process.