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Help for retaining wall for my front yard

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by VO Landscape Design, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. VO Landscape Design

    VO Landscape Design LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 358

    I am going to try and attach some pics of the area I want to do. The first is a pic of most of the area I want to retain, with it ending about 3 blocks high, 25' or so long downhill, (blocks are 8" tall x 16" long x 10" deep) on the far left curving into the hill. I am ok with the construction part, base gravel tamped and so on but I want to start at the steps and work my way left. How do I make the first block look good against the steps, with out it looking unfinished? The first course will be 6" in ground with 2" above to start. Another question, has anybody incorporated 2 different thicknesses of block. The ones at the top I put in several years ago to help with the erosion (no remarks please!!) Will it look ok to have the first row 8" in height (next to the sidewalk), a second row 8" (in the middle of the hill) then the top (existing) 4" thick blocks? They are not the same dimension (12" x 8" x 8") but they do have very similar faces.
    I hope I explained it enough.



  2. gmcplowtruck

    gmcplowtruck LawnSite Member
    Posts: 174

    i would take the other blocks out and put 1 good wall right by the side walk then your yard would be level what you want to do is make a corner by the steps and run the block back beside the steps so it would look finished and rock faced th whole way
    what name block are you using
  3. VO Landscape Design

    VO Landscape Design LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 358

    I picked up the blocks at Lowes (well my friends picked it up the tab so its free too me, they feel sorry for me since I am back at school). I had to pick over quite a few to find some solid ones. Didn't think of running it back into the steps, thanks.
    Our neighbors across the street put in one big wall along there sidewalk and back filled. Looks great but too expensive for me right now
  4. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Posts: 1,074

    i think i'd blow up the whole yard and start over from scratch.:laugh:
  5. VO Landscape Design

    VO Landscape Design LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 358

    How much is dynamite??:laugh: :laugh:
  6. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    I'd be real careful around that tree. Depending on what you did when you installed the wall that's there, you may have hurt it some. You could do some serious damage to it if you get too crazy with what you are planning.

    I'd hate to loose a tree that size if it was in my front yard, especially since it looks like there's only two there to begin with... Can't quite tell from the pics, but is it an oak?

    What is the purpose for the wall you are wanting to build??
  7. VO Landscape Design

    VO Landscape Design LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 358

    Every time it rains we loose more top soil. It is in the shade and not much will grow. It is a bit of a work in process. There is an oak and maple in that area.
  8. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    Ummm, mulch and groundcover would be a LOT cheaper, not to mention a LOT easier on the tree...
  9. senatorcongressman

    senatorcongressman LawnSite Member
    from WDC
    Posts: 40

    I agree with d felix, you don't NEED a wall, but if you WANT a wall, thats another matter. Turn it into the steps as mentioned, do the same near the end of your property on the left, either 90 square turn or gradually into the slope. What are you planning to but in the tiers between these walls? If you are happy with how they look now, I wouldn't worry about the different sized blocks on the upper wall.

    If it were up to me, I would remove all of the blocks and sell em on craigslist. Rent (or buy used) a tiller, get a pickup truck load of topsoil and some grass seed, and grade it nice and smooth. When you grade, make a little gully near the sidewalk because you will get some errosion before the grass roots. Fall is the best time to plant, but you can do it now if you want, don't forget to water thrice daily. Where the grass won't grow, plant some shade tolerent ground covers (vinca, liriope, pachysandra, phlox, euonymus, etc...) (check classygroundcovers.com for a small selection) Add some shade tolerent plants along the path like hosta, ferns, lenten rose, clumping grasses. Some twig dogwoods would look nice near the house, also some hydrangea or azalea. All easy to care for and inexpensive. Mulch around the bare parts (don't cover the tree's root collar) and you'll have a great looking yard for much less than what more blocks would cost. Much better for the oak and maple too.

    The plants you have now look like they are in prison.
  10. VO Landscape Design

    VO Landscape Design LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 358

    Here are some pics of the almost finished wall. I need to add cap stones and a few more plants.



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