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steep ravine slope

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by lawnboy, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. lawnboy

    lawnboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 321

    Ok, ive got a ravine slope that needs a retaining wall put in to extend the back yard. I haven done anything like this before with such a steep slope, and need some ideas. First of all I would like to be able to put a ledge at the top, with a firepit in the inside, so boulders are kind of out, not to metion the house has cobble stone on it. I need to brace the wall some how, but not exactly sure what to do . Any thoughts? The wall needs to be about 15 ft wide. If any of you have pics of past work, it would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jreiff

    jreiff LawnSite Senior Member
    from MN
    Posts: 402

    Maybe you should post some pictures of the area that need the wall so we have some perspective of what it looks like.
  3. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Yes pics and move to hardscaping forum
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    If it needs to be an actual retaining wall, and not a 4 ft ornamental wall...get a pro.

    End of story.
  5. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I would agree. Find someone that is trained to do this work. This is just too much of a liability.
  6. lawnboy

    lawnboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 321

    Thanks for your no help:) I will see if i can get some pics. I dont want to hire anyone out, because i want to learn how to do it. I was seeking some advise on the bracing into the hill. That is my major concern...
  7. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Well you see, there was no offense meant towards you. It's just that those of us experienced in this type of work can tell you are totally out of your league on this... over in Cluelessville...

    Dirty Water and tiedeman said it best really. Don't take the risk... get a pro.

    There is nothing wrong with your wanting to learn, but not at your expense and the expense of others. Sub this one out to a pro and 'supervise' the job so you at least get a clue about this type of work before you persue anything further. Then if you do decide to pursue it further, you can get into doing all the things you need to do in order to become a provider of this type of service.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,426

    The description of the wall you are proposing typically would mean you have to build and engineered wall. That means you are going to hire a soils engineer to determine what you have to work with, then you will take his information to a licensed civil engineer so he can design a wall for your application. In your case, I would ask the engineer to spell out every last line, and dot all I's and cross all T's. Segmental walls are not to be taken lightly, but if you can read and you respect the danger of what you are doing, you can do this type of work. In order to do what you are describing you will need a track back hoe, tracked loader, vibratory pad foot roller, Wkacker jumping style compactor, and an assortment of other weapons for war.

    In ravine situations, it is critical to find out what lurks beneath the soil surface. Most of them around here are loaded with solid rock. Those jobs require soil nailing in order to back tie the wall to the grid. And, in a soil nailed job, it is very common to see $100,000.00 in shoring (nailing) costs to be able to back tie to. That brings us to budget. What have you set aside for this project? In normal applications, assuming all cuts can be made and you enter in with digging a leveling pad trench and setting the wall, you dance upon a $50.00 per square foot cost, as long as there is more than 2,000 sf of wall to install. Smaller amounts and tighter access, add to the costs. I never use unit pricing to bid our work, but often use it for budgetary guidelines or WAG's for clients considering wall projects. Most of the time we can fall into those guidelines. There is always that one time when budgets get blown on exisiting criterias.
  9. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    exactly!!! I still to this day turn down some work that I know that I can not handle or may be a liability to me. It is better to turn it down or hire a pro, than to jump into the project and have a huge lawsuit on your hands
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Thanks Bill for that way of putting it also.

    By the way, never had the pleasure of viewing naturescapelandscape.com and I must say both the entire site and the slideshow are superb. Looking at the photos makes me miss my old business and the 'open checkbook' projects I used to do. Ironically though, some work I did earlier in the week reminds me I'm no longer in any condition for the down low ground-level work these days. So I don't miss that part... especially not pavers and concrete LOL!

    Anyways, you do such great work that I'd feel bad if I didn't mention something... Have you ever considered going further and getting into the decorative and artistic masonry market? It's not an "anybody's market" for certain. It takes someone who is gifted with technique, creation and can mold that with structural integrity.... or being lucky enough to find and employ someone who is. But likewise, since some of it very very few can do... it can also be very financially rewarding while also opening the scope of your company.

    Needless to say, I did a good percentage of custom masonry, both outdoors and indoors over the years. I made a lot of money at it along with the other services.

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