Retaining Wall Level with Sidewalk/Driveway

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by jreile, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. jreile

    jreile LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3


    I am looking to build my own retaining wall soon with some pretty basic dry stack blocks. My retaining wall will contact my driveway at a perpendicular angle. I would like the top of my retaining wall to be at the same height level with the driveway at this point. As my retaining wall extends in the direction away from the driveway, I would like to keep the top of the wall at this level. My yard gradually slopes down as you move away from the driveway. Everywhere I have been reading, states to start your retaining wall at its lowest point. My question is if I start at the lowest point, which is about 60 ft from the driveway, how do I ensure that the top of my wall is at the same level as the driveway as I build towards that direction? Would I be able to start constructing the wall next to the driveway and build away from the driveway, basically building the wall from its highest point? If I have to start at the lowest point, what steps do I have to take to ensure the top of my wall is at the same height as my driveway?
  2. philboudreault

    philboudreault LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    hire a contractor
  3. klaf

    klaf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Well, first of all it is possible to start your retaining wall at the driveway and work your way down. This will ensure that you get the wall where you want it to be. The reason why you are told to start at the lowest point is becuase it is a lot easier to build up then build down. Setting your grades for stepups is easier then setting them for stepdowns.

    This being said, I have built many walls where starting at the lowest point was just not an option. If you do want to start at the lowest point then you are going to have some math to do. First you need to determine the finished height of your finished wall in regards to the lowest starting point. So say from the top of your wall to the bottom you have 50 inches of drop. Take this number and divided it by the height of 1 unit (block). So for a 7 inch block you would end up with 7 coarses. Don't forget to factor the cap unit into the equation as well. With a 3 inch cap this would give you 52 inches of wall. So the bottom of the first coarse would start 52 inches below the finished elevation. Make sure you bury atleast 10% of the wall though so starting your first coarse at 59 inches would ensure the ability to bury the bottom coarse.

    This might take more digging and more block but its still less work than having to rebuild the wall. I'm assuming you don't have a transit or anything like that. So you can hammer in a peg at the driveway and run a level string out over the area where the wall is to be built. Peg it over your lowest point , make sure the string is tight and level and measure down to figure the change in elevation from highest point to lowest point.

    Sorry about the length, hope this helpso

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