Basic retaining wall help please....

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Grimace, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Grimace

    Grimace LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Please bare with me as I have never done any hardscaping before.

    I need to build a retaining wall to hold back about 2 feet of soil for an L shaped wall total length of about 70 feet. The house is in Bakersfield, CA so rain and frost are basically non existant, though the area behind the wall will be used as a planter with a drip system.

    The plan was to use basic "cinder" block to save money, and in the future the wall could be veneered or stucco'ed. My main question focuses on the footer. Pouring a cement footer seems a bit expensive and over kill for a wall that will only be 3 courses high.

    How deep should I trench, what type of material, and how deep should the footer be?



    OUTLANDER LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 576

    if you're using cinder blocks, thats different than a srw. Cinder block walls need mortar, and has to have a concrete footer, no matter how tall this wall is, or it will fail...(be sure to run drainage behind wall, and being it's gonna be a bed w/ drip system you should bring drain through wall also
  3. pls8xx

    pls8xx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    Even 2ft high cmu (cinder block) walls fail with time if they are not tied to the footer with rebar and the block voids filled with concrete.

    If you want a stucco or stone veneer wall and you are a homeowner without block laying skill, then I suggest you consider poured concrete. When you compare a block wall's cost for block and the expense and trouble of filling the voids I think you will find that poured concrete requires less skill, is lower in total cost, and is a stronger wall.

    While poured concrete does not need skilled work, it does require the knowledge of how to build adequate forms for the pour. There is a huge pressure exerted by the wet concrete and if the forms blow out it's a disaster.

    For either block or poured, on hard undisturbed soil, I suggest a 8" deep by 20" wide footer with two runs of #4 rebar for your 2ft high wall.

    Let me know if you need help with forms.

    OUTLANDER LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 576

    yes, what pls said, if you're thinking of stuccoing, or verneer why not just go with srw and save the hassel now, and money.........seems this wall isn't gonna be too load bearing being a raised planting bed
  5. Grimace

    Grimace LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Thanks for the advice guys. Here are pictures of the yard so you can see what I'm dealing with. Also I took a spy picture of the neighbors yard. That is what I'm going for, be it with CMU or a full on concrete wall. I'm leaning towards concrete since I know a good contractor that does patios and walkways, maybe he can help me with the wall.

    What can I expect to pay per cubic foot?






    OUTLANDER LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 576

    just curious, is this neighborhood in Temecula, CA.......(murrietta)..cuz the houses look identical to those there
  7. pls8xx

    pls8xx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    Looks like a piece of cake if you can get a concrete truck back there. Make double damn sure you have the surface drainage worked out before you set the grade on the bottom of the wall.

    Around here, I would expect a contractor quote of 4 to 5k. As a DIY no labor, it would be a little less than 1k, $6.50 to $7 per face ft. not including stone veneer or stucco. (5.5inch by 24inch by 70ft)
  8. Hardscaping

    Hardscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 359

    for that wall i would charge about $3500 to install a srw into it with basic blocks with choice of color.

    the way i would say you should do it is with srw. it would cost you to do it yourself about $1500.00 and about two to three full days of hard work by yourself. this is canadian dollars.
  9. Dave88LX

    Dave88LX LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    Hah, interesting to see the fence alternating like that. I guess that solves the problem of who gets the "nice side".
  10. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Looks like garbage. Forget the wall and spend the money on a nice planting selection. This will give you varied heights and for square footage to work with. Monkey see ... isnt always better, especially here.

Share This Page