New Project

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Terra-Scapes, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. Terra-Scapes

    Terra-Scapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    I'm completely new to hardscaping and landscaping in general. I started back in May with two mowing accounts and by word of mouth I have three landscaping jobs most recently a request to do a hardscape job. The hardscape client wants to have a retaining wall built around a cul-de-sac that currently has rotting railroad ties surrounding it.

    I'm not sure how high the down slope side of the cul-de-sac needs to be to keep runoff and erosion under control. I'm also struggling with how to blend the corners in with the high side of the cul-de-sac. Does the down slope side of the cul-de-sac need to be equal to the highest point in the middle or can it be less? If so, by how much? Does the cap stone need to be the same level all the way around? Can I decrease the height by "stepping" the wall around the corners to meet the lower side wall height?

    Check out the pictures.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.


    Copy of Cul-du-sac_1.jpg

    Copy of Cul-du-sac_2.jpg

    Copy of Cul-du-sac_3.jpg

    Copy of Cul-du-sac_4.jpg

    Copy of Cul-du-sac_5.jpg
  2. Terra-Scapes

    Terra-Scapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    More info:

    I plan on using Pavestone Anchor Diamond for the wall surround the cul-de-sac. I plan on building the highest side of the cul-de-sac with a half barried base block and then one Anchor Diamond block followed by a cap stone. Then around the corners I will step down the stone to meet the level of 4 blocks (one barried block) and a cap stone for the lower side of the cul-de-sac.

    I'm still not sure if that is high enough on the lower side...
  3. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    you need a transit to shoot the heights to determine what you really need to do. Eye balling it is going to leave you with less than perfect results. Have you thought about subcontracting this out to an established and experienced firm? ask them for a bid and then put 10% on top of it, hand it to the HO and walk away with some money for making a phone call. I've got one subcontracted job coming up thats going to make me $980 profit in one day for making 2 phone calls.
  4. tylermckee

    tylermckee LawnSite Member
    from wa
    Messages: 248

    That is a good little wall to start on, its not a monster wall that has a high chance of failing if installed wrong. get a laser level or transit and shoot the area. start by finding the lowest point of the wall then dig down far enough to get your sub base and enough to burry half a block or so. throw in your sub base compact it and start laying your base course, step up when you need to. Being such a short wall i would just backfill it all with drain rock to within 6" of final grade. then put some filter fabric over the rock, put in some top soil and call it good. Like i said this is the kind of wall you want to learn on, not walls like a few of the guys here say they are trying to do for their FIRST wall, 15 foot high monsters
  5. Terra-Scapes

    Terra-Scapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Hey guys, thanks for the information. I'll take all I can get. I have to say that the landscape community has completely amazed me. Everyone I have run into at my local supplier and on the street are nothing but nice; this site included. Everyone is so willing to share information and help.

    I gave an estimate on the job and have it based on that, but I have to write up bid for it and I have been struggling with the price to charge and overall format of the bid itself. I planned on making separate lines in the bid for removal of the ties and excavation, wall construction, and mulch fill/removal of underbrush. I planned on charging:

    $520 - for x-tie removal and excavation ($65 pr/hr @ 8hrs) that includes paying a helper and running the Bobcat.

    $6600- for the wall construction ($22 per sq ft @ approx. 300 sq ft) that includes Anchor Diamond blocks, cap stone, 4 yards 57 stone, 4 yards crushed stone, landscape adhesive, landscape fabric, rental of packer, delivery of stone pallets, and helper payment.

    ? $ - for mulch and labor. Client has some mulch, but not enough to fill island and I'm not sure where to get mulch from by truck load delivered.

    Do these prices sound far? Am I missing anything? Does that sound like enough crush and 57 stone to build the base and backfill?

    Construction plan:

    I'm going to start the job by ripping the X-ties out with a bobcat and then digging back 2 feet or so to allow room for the 57 stone backfill and a 2 foot base pad of compacted crush rock. I plan on starting the block lying on the lower side of the island and building to the corners. Then measure and trig to triangulate the corners so they are the same length. From there I will run levels to the corners to make sure they are the same height at the base and start laying the stone. Then run the corners into the high side of the island and finish it off. I'm capping the wall and plan on using a stone/brick adhesive to glue the cap stone, but I’m not sure what kind or brand is best.

    Do I need to back fill the highest side of the island wall with 57 stone and pack it or just back full with native dirt and pack it? The wall will consist of one half berried stone, one stacked stone, and a cap stone.

  6. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Terra-scapes, sorry I don't have much to add at this point, just want to address something...

    tylermckee said:
    I hope you are not referring to me and my current thread. I haven't been on LS much in the last 14 months due to being busy with work, home and other commitments, so you haven't seen anything from me since you joined a short time ago.

    I am more than capable of building a 15 foot tall wall. Period. I think if you will go back and read through any of my posts on anything hardscape related you will see that I am actually giving advice more than I am recieving it. My current thread is asking a SPECIFIC question, to which no one yet has answered, let alone you.

    If you weren't referring to me, I apologize. I tend to get offended when someone makes an assumption before knowing anything. If you want to discuss this further, PM me as I don't want to derail this thread any more than I already have.

    Terra-Scapes, I guess I do have something to add. Posting prices really won't get you anything usefull, as no one here has a company with the same overhead and other costs as yours. What you need to be asking about is man hours, then you can be applying your hourly rate to that for your estimate. If I get more time in the next day or two (doubtfull though), I'll try to look a little harder at what you've posted. Sorry for sidetracking.

  7. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    no that would prob be my post haha
  8. Terra-Scapes

    Terra-Scapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    D Felix - The price point makes sense. I wanted to through those numbers out there and see if I was way off in one direction or another. Thanks for the info though and I appreciate your time.

    As far as over head; I really don't have any except paying a helper. The job is close to my house and I'm really looking forward to do this to get the experience.

    Also, I for got to mention that if all goes well with this job there is another cul-de-sac in the same neighbor that is lined up for me to do. I don’t want to set the price to high because of the other job, but I don’t want to lose money.

  9. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,265

    i second what kind of jobs Dan has done. he is no greenhorn, i'll tell you that.

    john, post some pics of the progress. i have seen you mowing pictures and i can't wait to see your venture into hardscapes.
  10. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,583

    I am always confused / amazed as to how lawn jockeys seem to think that wall construction is in the same realm as cutting yards.

    Stacking blocks is easy. Most of us all had LEGOS as kids. Whether its 18-inches high or 12-feet high - Building the wall to stay FOREVER is a whole other game.

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