View Full Version : Small Retaining Wall Project

01-23-2013, 07:52 PM
Hey Guys,

This is my first year doing hardscaping on my own. Have worked in landscaping/hardscaping for a while but most was landscape work. Working up a proposal for what will be my first wall project. ICPI certified. Seems like a nice job to start with. Have never designed or estimated this work before so I have a few questions.

I am removing old wall and lighting on one side of driveway and installing new wall (29 linear ft) and lights, but homeowner wants to keep old steps and walkway.

House already has a mix of stone and brick so worried an EP Henry Wall will not fit in, so any input on that would help.

If excavated dirt is level and raise grade behind wall, and assuming new wall follows same line as old wall, should wall be height of the top step and then run an "L" carry it back to where the step meets the walkway?

On other side, just removing wood edging and putting new edge, probably cobble stone.

Thanks for any help. Trying to learn and do things right.

01-23-2013, 07:58 PM
trying to upload photos

01-23-2013, 08:05 PM
here's the pictures

01-23-2013, 08:08 PM
also, meant to write If exavated dirt is "USED TO" level and raise grade behind wall

01-23-2013, 09:41 PM
I would just do coblestone on both sides and grade the lawn to meet it. I don't think it requires a proper "wall"
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01-23-2013, 10:00 PM
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01-24-2013, 12:58 AM
I know it's low. Customer asked for a wall and it could be used here. Would everyone recommend against it? That's what forums are for, learning and teaching.

01-24-2013, 08:30 AM
You have a situation. You want to learn and figure this is an easy project. The homeowner probably smells the new and figures it is as simple as removing the wood and replacing with block.

The truth is that this could go horribly wrong and become a real problem. Done improperly the driveway edge will move and you'll have some ticked off clients. Cobble is expensive, but stepping the wall over several vertical feet will add up too. I agree a wall is not needed. Concrete a curb and be done. Let me ask you, are you planning on cutting the driveway out to lay your base in front of the wall or are you planning to place the wall back and fill in with patch. I'm fairly certain the owner is not expecting either and you can't just slap it up against the driveway.

01-24-2013, 10:32 AM
I was going to cut driveway out to make room for base in front of wall. They want to redo driveway soon. Like I said I have worked on wall systems before so I explained to the homeowner what goes under and around the wall to make it last. They want a wall that will last and realize all this.

I realize this is a very small wall. With that said, I am looking for help on how to make it fit into this setting.

I have done a lot of driveway edge- pavers, brick, cobblestone and know how to install correctly. Although I am tagging this as "first job on my own" do not think I am planning on building anything the wrong way or shortcutting, and the homeowner is on the same page that whatever goes in will be built to last

DVS Hardscaper
01-24-2013, 10:59 AM
Such a slight grade.


Based on the pictures you've provided - they don't need a retaining wall. The way I work my small business is I always look for other solutions before I sell them a wall. For a property like this I would only sell them a wall if no other solutions are viable.

I know you really wanna do your first wall, but this property doesn't need one. I would try sell them on a simple grading job first, they really do not need a wall. All a wall will do is cause the car doors to bang against it.

Take the lamp post out, and carve out the grade to taper to the asphalt. Have electrician come and plant a new lamp post when done.


01-24-2013, 11:12 AM
Thanks for the post I will look into the grading, maybe a belgian block border on both sides

01-26-2013, 04:28 PM
Perfect set up for a wall and new steps but considering they have a tight budget I would just tell them to replace the rotted lumber with new lumber. I personally would not suggest regrading. It would be worse looking than it is now. That yard really needs a facelift.

02-19-2013, 03:06 PM
Agree, this could definitely use a facelift. Grading would fix the problem, however IMO a wall would look great there with a landscape bed from the existing (top steps) to about halfway down the drive. Could do that for about 4k. On the other side just replace the timbers with a paver edge that matches the wall.

Correct me if I am wrong here. But for the wall, I would just run a line on it and cut it where you need to to make sure it is straight and then set the wall in slightly back (to allow enough room for your base) from the drive and put poly sand in the gap. Sometimes we use expansion board (black board for concrete), never used on an application like this..

02-19-2013, 03:07 PM
**run a line on the driveway and cut where you need to to make sure it is straight..

Thought i'd clarify that

02-20-2013, 03:11 PM
You could use weston wall block from belgard. Cheap block but looks great to me. You could do it for around $1,200 for a 30ft wall. Depending on what tools you have you may need to add a $100 or so for rentals.

02-20-2013, 10:13 PM
If you only do the wall and edging the old steps and walk will really stand out as an eye soar..I would rather they wait, save a few bucks and do the whole thing. I would try to explain to them that I want them to be happy with the results and just doing the wall will most likely leave them wishing they addressed the walk and steps.