Rock retaining wall pics

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by NonStop, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. NonStop

    NonStop LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    I didn't think I would ever post a picture of my work on here. But I think I'm ready for the flames. :blob2:

    01092007 022small.JPG

    01092007 021small.JPG
  2. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Well since you admit it.... LOL. :D

    Your pics are really too small to see much detail, but here's what I see:

    1. You need much, much more batter than what the wall has. Each course needs to step back into the hillside around an inch (or more, depending on effect desired). Natural stone does not lock together like a manufactured SRW, and relies solely on gravity to do it's work. Batter is how you achieve that.
    2. Courses need to be as consistent as you can make them; i.e.- as level all the way across as possible.
    3. The most important course is the top course. It needs to be absolutely as level as possible, with very little to no dips across the top.
    4. Not sure I like all of the stone in front of the wall, but that's a matter of personal preference. :)

    Natural stone can look absolutely great if done correctly. To an untrained eye, even a bad job can look decent, but to a trained eye, a bad job sticks out like a sore thumb.

    Keep in mind that you will spend a significant deal of time sorting through rocks trying to find "just the right one". It's not uncommon for a natural stone wall to take twice as long (or more) than a SRW of the same size because of this. But the results should look a lot better than a SRW.
  3. tthomass

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

    Think of us as critics :)

    Using the larger stone it is a little more difficult to close all the gaps and make things fit tightly.

    Set aside your larger nicer looking stone during construction and use them as the caps. Avoid stones being at an angle as it stands out and creates voids.

    One thing that could greatly be effecting this project is budget. To build with natural stone a customer is really going to have to pay out some $ to get it just right. Using the good stone and trashing the rest. Typically 25% or more of the pallet will be trash. The customer then has to pay for that disposal which isn't cheap due it weight. Blind mortar walls are an added benefit to keeping a good look and even stronger wall. If you're going to put forth the effort the mortar just makes sense.........sell the customer on strength.

    If you can sell them on some plantings. Laurels around the AC units. The hillside above the wall I would load with perennials or even a wildflower seed mix if conditions are favorable. Especially if the area is visible from inside or around the property.

    How's things in Charlotsville? GO HOKIES :)
  4. leaflandscape

    leaflandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    You've used a very difficult stone to lay level, was it your choice or the customers?
  5. cedarcroft

    cedarcroft LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    the wall looks nice, but it has some issues. the joints are too big, the batter is too little etc. the next one that you do will be better, thats how it goes. I would recomend a chipping hammer be utilized next time. chip high spots and edges to get the stones to fit better. also take more time in stone selection to get the joints right. all in all, i'd say it was a very good effort and I am sure the customer thinks its the best thing ever.
  6. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,174

    It all depends on what the customer wants. Some may want a perfect wall. Some may want a more "basic" wall that looks like a landowner built back in the day. I think it looks good, but I would use a bit more setback.
  7. NonStop

    NonStop LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    D- I see what you're saying but 'STL Ponds and Waterfalls' is right, this house was built in the 1890's and the customer wanted it to look like it had been there for a long time. They didn't really want ANY straight lines on it at all.

    The stone is Alleghany WS and matches what you would find in the streams near by.

    Here is the great part about this project. Both ends of the wall had steep hills making it very difficult to move the material. Every piece of that stone was hand carried an average of 75 feet. This is really what jumped the price, (and gave us lots of sore muscles). We couldn't even really push wheel barrels up the hills, so the gravel was brought in with 5 gallon buckets! :dizzy:

    EVERYONE is correct on the layback....not enough. But with the stones ranging from 10 to 80 pounds, do you think it will ever move? Legitamate question...

    Thanks for not beatin' me up too bad on my first pic post!

    oh, and whats a hokie???? :laugh:
  8. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    It's hard to say whether they will move or not. If there's any kind of water coming down the hill, there's definately a chance for movement.

    Did you have access for a mini-skidsteer such as a Dingo or a Ditch Witch SK? Both are available with tracks (that's ALL DW carries), and if you had the room, more than likely would have saved you a LOT of hours and sore backs! Next time you are in a tight area like that, call around and see if you can rent one. Tracks will work best on a hill, wheels OK on flatter ground if it's not too wet.

    As for a hokie, isn't that a college nickname?
  9. NonStop

    NonStop LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    Yeah, I guess I could've used something to get the stone 15 feet or so closer, up the hill. Probably should've done that.

    But then again, I don't have a skid steer, etc. So I would've had to rent one, and they run a couple hundred a day around here...
  10. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    How much is a visit to the chiropractor and how many years will you get out of your back?

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