Wood retaining wall

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by IAHomeImp, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. IAHomeImp

    IAHomeImp LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 10

    Hate to start off on a new forum with an off the wall question, but i'd prefer to talk with you fellas that do this all day befoe i pull the trigger. and for the record i've used the search button and have'nt found what i'm looking for;)

    situation:
    MY backyard, this summer i took out 14 tandem loads of dirt, it used to slope from about midpoint in the yard up to the neighbors in my backyard...shot it with the transit and the highest point is 4' taller than grade near the house. When i dug out the yard i kept the back yard higher so finalized grade will be higher and i can run the water out of the yard. But i have to hold this dirt back obviously to prevent further erroding so i'm entertaining all options and that's where you guys come in.

    Solutions:
    Spendiest to cheapest-
    Dig trench footings all the way across the back yard and stick rebar vertical and have it rise above so when we pour above grade it'll all be tied together, along with horizontal rebar to tie it all together too. Am considering building plywood forms since we could do it all in house cheaper than renting aluminum forms. So in doing the wall this way, with proper waterproofing on the back side and tile i would also dig and form the walls for the big stick built shop i'm going to put back there...so it's kind of an all in one deal.

    or

    Was thinking of stabbing 6x6's vertically 4' o.c. throughout the layout. Was going to put 5' in the ground and 4' above grade then use 2x6 T&G treated lumber to cover the back side of the wall that will get membraned and backfilled. I was going to implement deadmen into the mix as well to help spread the load behind the wall into the small piece of relestate behind the wall. Install the same waterproofing membrane to the dirt side of the hill, bury tile and back fill with gravel, get it within 2" of finish grade and finish it all over completely around the back of the wall with river rock/decorative rock since i dont want to mess with mowing/weeding behidn the new shop.

    If i do the wood wall i'd just swap shop construction over to post frame style/pole building style since i'd have my cheap retaining wall and would'nt have to worry about the building itself being implemented as a retainging wall. But i've noticed with the wooden retaining walls i've been seeing, everybody is laying the timbers like bricks. and implementing deadmen to those too.

    I'd love to go the cement route, but i'm also doing this all out of pocket since business is slower and bank is being tight. so i could move forward faster being cheap, but at the same time i talk myself out of it since i know cheap never gets anybody far cept spending the money all over again later...but if i could build a wood reataining wall that i could get 20-30yrs out of, i'd be happy since i'll prolly be dead by the time that fails. Heck, my mother owned this house for 23 years and the year they built they just stacked landscaping timbers with rerod to terrace the yard off and it was still holding until i dug it all out this summer;)

    This is what i'm dealing with and it'll have a building spanning most of the width of the backyard too.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    thanks and take it easy on the new guy;) been lurking for awhile, just never joined since landscaping is'nt my bag.
     
  2. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    Man that was hard to understand. Neither sounds like a good choice. Wood will rot and the concrete needs to be on a footer if you want it to last. If you must have a wall tight to the fence just use retaining wall blocks, otherwise just slope it out 45* and stick some grass or plants on it and move your shop out a few feet.
     
  3. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 548

    not hard to read at all, and the pictures definitely help.

    First, how does your neighbor's yard drain--basically does the water drain toward that fence, or away from it?

    But, I'd go with the concrete rather than wood. The wood will rot, and you'll have to go back and replace it.
    I'm not a fan of the way concrete looks, but that can be easily fixed with a stone veneer.

    I have a similar problem with a 40-year old retaining wall that is about to go. Built from RR ties it was soaked in creosote and has lasted this long. But now I have to see what to do about replacing it.
     
  4. IAHomeImp

    IAHomeImp LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 10

    Sorry if it was hard to read, tried to make it as simple as possible.

    Neighbors yard does slope down into mine, so i will pick up whatever excess run off he has, though he's one of those super anal yard keepers with a lush lawn so that helps LOL!!

    I dont want the wall right at the fence, I put the fence on the property line and my building for easment purposes has to be off the property line 5' on the back side so that little bit of dirt cushion up there will stay there and will actually be a little wider once i get the retaining wall built and backfill it.

    IF i do the concrete route, it will all be footing depth and rebared, and i will also dig the footers in for my building at the same time, it'll be a big maze of poured footers and such, but it'd be a 2 for 1 thing. I'd have footing for the large buidling and footings for the retaining wall too. The exposed side if i end up running concrete i'd like to do a rock veneer, kind of give it that rustic look vs just plain old concrete, or if i wanted ti kill two birds with one stone doing that too, I could just order the rubber form liner and staple it up insdie the forms for the rock look and have the concrete tinted like we did on this flip house porch:
    [​IMG]
     
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    Concrete footings aren't necessary for retaining walls.

    A minimum of 6-8 inches of crushed and compacted gravel would be sufficient with the first course below grade. The only engineering aspect to consider is if you have more than a 2-3 high block wall, then geo-fabric will need to be placed to lock the wall into the dirt your retaining.

    Good Luck.
     
  6. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 548

    I have to disagree with this statement.

    If the retaining wall is 4' high, then you'll want to put in a proper foundation and tie it into the wall. if you want a retaining wall to last.
     
  7. IAHomeImp

    IAHomeImp LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 10

    I'm not doing a standard block type retaining wall, it'll all be solid concrete and rebar..or wood, but the more i think the more i've convinced myself to jsut do the concrete, incorporate the buildings footings into the retaining wall footing. tile, waterproof like a basement and call it DUN for good. I'll still be at least money with a poured wall than buying the retaining wall blocks, originally that's what i planed on initally and had severe sticker shock LOL!! For what it would take me to install the stackable blocks correctly, i'll be able to do all the footings for the retaining wall, the actual retaining wall of poured concrete AND the room addition i have to put on the house to build the shop the size i want it....so the concrete is pretty much a no brainer from my stand point...i dont have hook up's in the landscaping area:(
     
  8. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,443

    Somehow Im sure we are talking apples and oranges...but no...you dont ....way too many factors to say it that simply.
     
  9. IAHomeImp

    IAHomeImp LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 10

    There is no way i would pour 140'x4'x8" concrete wall that will be holding back landscaping and just pour it on a gravel base.

    I think your talking about stacked blocks, i'm talking a poured concrete wall....like a poured basement wall.
     
  10. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,443

    Gotchya.....I had a feeling I was off on that one...
     

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