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Old 07-08-2012, 08:57 PM   #1
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


We have a individual that has been doing a large landscaping project for us. To start off with he leveled the ground that came out from our daylight basement...so that a paver patio could be installed. I guess he had to build up the ground to level the area. Our concern is that the ground material that was added to the area to level it is being held in place with boards (see attached photo). Where the soldiers are located at...he did place a concrete block in the ground....added leveling
material (sand, road mix, etc.) before laying out the soldiers. He is telling us that when the boards are removed the excess material will fall down the hillside and the installed patio area will be secure, safe and stronge against errosion. Please look at the attached photos and give me your opinion. Do we need to have him come out a few feet from where the boards are at and install a retaining wall...with backfill?
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Do we need to install a retaining wall-patio1.jpg   Do we need to install a retaining wall-patio2.jpg  
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:38 PM   #2
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


From the photo it looks like the ground is pretty much level out from your basement. I don't see why you think you need a retaining wall. You certainly need to get the slope seeded with grass or similar material to hold it in place, but maybe you can point out exactly where you think you need a retaining wall and exactly why you think you need one.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:57 PM   #3
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


Agreed. Looks the person did a nice job leveling out the addition. Please show where you are concerned.

Also agree you should plant that slope. Look into hydroseeding it. Most people think of it for turf but you can use the method for any seed including groundcovers if you do not want to mow or try to water what you have for turf.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:15 PM   #4
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
From the photo it looks like the ground is pretty much level out from your basement. I don't see why you think you need a retaining wall. You certainly need to get the slope seeded with grass or similar material to hold it in place, but maybe you can point out exactly where you think you need a retaining wall and exactly why you think you need one.
We are concern that the area where he has the boards will need a retaining wall to keep the ground from erroding away. The boards will be removed and it probably will look unfinished also....what are your thoughts?
As for the slope we are going to put in a rock garden with plants and trees
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:18 PM   #5
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


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Agreed. Looks the person did a nice job leveling out the addition. Please show where you are concerned.

Also agree you should plant that slope. Look into hydroseeding it. Most people think of it for turf but you can use the method for any seed including groundcovers if you do not want to mow or try to water what you have for turf.
Yeah...we are going to rock it and plant shrubs and trees on the upper part of the slope at the far end of the house
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:34 AM   #6
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


I think you will grow to hate that slope as much as you love the patio. If your first attempts to fix the slope are done without a viable plan, the eventual cost is likely to exceed what you spent on the patio. Save some money, I think you will need it.

I can't comment further for lack of knowledge ....

The location and climate.

The size of roof and patio with the route rainwater takes from these structures.

The permeability of the soil.

The length and vertical drop of the slope.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:39 AM   #7
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


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I think you will grow to hate that slope as much as you love the patio. If your first attempts to fix the slope are done without a viable plan, the eventual cost is likely to exceed what you spent on the patio. Save some money, I think you will need it.

I can't comment further for lack of knowledge ....

The location and climate.

The size of roof and patio with the route rainwater takes from these structures.

The permeability of the soil.

The length and vertical drop of the slope.
Are you saying that a rock garden will be a pain in the butt?
The problem with that slope....it is a royal pain to mow because of the grade of the slope. That is why I thought a rock garden would be a better choice.
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:21 PM   #8
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


Looks good to me,but you need to get something planted on the slope to hold it in place,low growing spreading evergreen's,or turf,just something so roots will grab and hold the soil,and the sooner the better.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:46 PM   #9
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


I like the look of the slope, but to each their own. To my mind, a rock garden with plants would look great. There is no need for a retaining wall there, all you have to do is pull the boards, level the ground out with some quality topsoil, seed, put in the rock garden, and kick back with a quality beverage of your choosing.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:33 AM   #10
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


There are few times I find myself in disagreement with Mr. Holzman. This may be one of them.

Photos can be deceiving, but what I see above appears to be a slope of 3:1 with a run of perhaps 24 ft.

In my climate such slopes are highly subject to erosion; a result of the velocity of the water in contact with the soil. The speed that water travels down the slope is a function of the steepness of the slope and the depth or volume of the water.

Grass is an excellent deterrent to erosion because the grass blades bend down and overlay the soil below. Thus the fast moving water is held above the soil surface. Tree and shrub roots do not provide this protection.

For a 3:1 slope where there is no water entering the slope from above the top, rainfall on the first few feet of the slope at the top will not have a volume that results in erosion. So for a slope having a run of 4 or 5 feet, rocks, trees, and shrubs are usually successful.

Rock can be used to prevent erosion on 3:1 slopes having a long run. The correct method for doing this is to use thin wide stone laid as a retaining wall with an extreme batter. Each successive stone is placed to overlap the one below it. As the stone is laid, some areas are made to be slightly higher causing the water to divert to the side. Plants can be placed in these protected "islands". The amount and cost of the stone as well as the cost of the expert labor makes this an expensive solution to the slope. But the result can be a beautiful landscape.

In my area, interspersed stone, trees, and shrubs can be successful on 6:1 slopes with runs up to 30 feet. More care being needed in the grading as the slope distance increases.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:52 AM   #11
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


Hi, I see you are concerned with a retaining wall and these guys will for sure help you out.. but.. Is that second floor deck new? Are those 4x4 posts? Maybe it's just the angle of the photo that was taken but they look quite a bit out of plumb. Does your deck sway at all? How did the landscaper place the stones around those posts? How much dirt was placed to bring the grade closer to level? I'm sorry, I just see rotten deck post in your future unless the he/she took appropriate action regarding the issue or lack there of.
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:09 AM   #12
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


Hi, my wife's the landscape architect, but from what I know, you will have to do one of two things:

1) Apply topsoil so that it is level with the top of the boards, then pull them out or leave them, then hydroseed or sod the slope. If you are doing hydroseeding, the contractor should lay down an erosion control mat first so the soil stays in place until the grass establishes.

2) Build a low retaining wall to hold the soil in place. If the wood is removed and nothing else done, the soil will erode away. If you use stone or stacked pavers, ensure that at least one course is located underground and sits on top of a 4-6" gravel base, compacted.

The least expensive solution is Number 1.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:21 AM   #13
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Do we need to install a retaining wall


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Originally Posted by CopperClad View Post
Hi, I see you are concerned with a retaining wall and these guys will for sure help you out.. but.. Is that second floor deck new? Are those 4x4 posts? Maybe it's just the angle of the photo that was taken but they look quite a bit out of plumb. Does your deck sway at all? How did the landscaper place the stones around those posts? How much dirt was placed to bring the grade closer to level? I'm sorry, I just see rotten deck post in your future unless the he/she took appropriate action regarding the issue or lack there of.
The deck is about 8 years old...same as the house! It's the angle of the photo...they are definately plumb. The deck is extremely sturdy. As you can see in the second photo there is approximately 8 inches of the concrete pad still exposed after he leveled out the ground. I will need to hide them by building a decorative box around the concrete and post.
Thanks Copper
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