Retaining Wall Problems - Help!

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Jordan White, May 10, 2020.

  1. Jordan White

    Jordan White LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Hey, everyone, I am not a professional, but hired someone to install a retaining wall around my property. I believe they installed my retaining wall the wrong way, the easy way, and it is going to cause a major problem. They did not bury the first level of stones on one entire side of the yard. They actually elevated it with sand, 4-6 inches of sand on top of the road base. Can you take a look at this and let me know if this is actually going to work or if I am going to have some major problems? You can see the large stack of sand under the wall on that side. I am super worried this is going to collapse considering we have children who will be on this wall and a lot of neighbors with kids by the wall too. Any advice will be helpful. Thank you!



  2. LonestarLandscaping1

    LonestarLandscaping1 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 84

    We are assuming that it is not engineered?

    As far as the front edge detail with the sand, as a homeowner I would 100% refuse to accept that job. From your picture, it appears sloppy.

    As far as safety, I think it will be safe to play on, it will lean over time as the sand washes out rather than all at once I would assume, but nonetheless it would be wiser to mix portland with the base and not use 6" of sand.

    Is there a reason they tried to raise it up the 6"?
    hal and Crazy 4 grass like this.
  3. OP
    Jordan White

    Jordan White LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    It is not engineered. It is about three feet tall at the brightest point and just two feet in this area. You’re right it is sloppy, that sand is spilling onto the neighboring properties, so that’s not great. I think they raised it just to avoid digging out a base for the lower level, to keep it level with the row coming from the higher part of the yard. My understanding is that you should always have the first row buried.
    hal and Crazy 4 grass like this.
  4. Mac-s Lawn & Snow

    Mac-s Lawn & Snow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    Yes as a general rule a course of block should be buried and in this case(2 course wall) I'd bury around half a course. Where it is built up on all that sand it is going to be a problem. Sand should only be used for leveling a half inch or less from the base pad. The mitered corner is going to be the first failure point. You better stop them now and educate them as your knowledge of walls is better than their construction skill set. What is going inside and on top of the wall? I can't tell what type of block that is, maybe Rockwood? You might want to get intouch with a sales rep for the product moving forward.
    Crazy 4 grass likes this.
  5. OP
    Jordan White

    Jordan White LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thank for you confirming this. The block is hollow and is filled with gravel, and on top there is a 4" capstone laid on top. The block is Versa-lok Square Foot.
  6. Hayduke

    Hayduke LawnSite Senior Member
    from Oregon
    Messages: 381

    Rule is 4 inch minimum to bury first course, plus an extra 1" for every foot of wall height. That wall will fail, eventually, how long is hard to say.
    That is not a professional job, and either you went with the lowest bid, or this is their first rodeo
    AlohaMowing and Crazy 4 grass like this.
  7. Hayduke

    Hayduke LawnSite Senior Member
    from Oregon
    Messages: 381

    In the second pic, what the hell is that little thin strip sticking off the lower block?
  8. Crazy 4 grass

    Crazy 4 grass LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,305

    Looks like its a mitered cut?
    Jordan White likes this.
  9. hal

    hal LawnSite Fanatic
    from Georgia
    Messages: 5,227

    It looks like instead of cutting the block at 45 deg they cut a veneer piece
  10. AlohaMowing

    AlohaMowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 412

    Oh my. That is so not right.

    In addition to your concerns, it is possible/likely that there are issues of building code violations. The requirements vary, and may be non-existant in your location, but in my area it would be necessary not only to have a properly constructed wall, but also to have a railing atop a wall 3 feet high to prevent people from falling off. Check with your local building department before there is a problem, and while they might lend weight to your objections to the ongoing job.

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