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Old 07-15-2012, 03:35 AM   #1
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Drain required in low retaining wall?


Building a pool and so had to excavate the area in my backyard. Ground is slightly graded away from the house and the high side (of the leveled ground area), is about 12" - 14" higher. I was thinking I'd use the Home Depot or similar blocks for the wall but am wondering if I need to install a drain for a wall this low (and it's not that high all around, that's just the highest point).

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Old 07-15-2012, 07:43 AM   #2
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Drain required in low retaining wall?


They make a 3" pipe that already has the silt sock on it that you can get at HD for a few bucks.To answer you question- Yes and you should also use gravel behind the wall too.
My question is how long do you want your wall to last and look like it did when you first put it up?
My point, the money involved to do it right is minimal,the drain system may never collect water,however it is cheap insurance,the gravel is key here too as it prevents the build up of pressure that allows your wall to be pushed out.

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Old 07-15-2012, 08:55 AM   #3
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Drain required in low retaining wall?


Is there that much pressure behind a 14" and less wall?

I'd planned to put rock behind, was just not looking forward to putting in a drain pipe. What do I do with it (the pipe) at the point where the wall ends (excavated area meets grade)?

Last edited by babzog; 07-15-2012 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:45 AM   #4
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Drain required in low retaining wall?


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Originally Posted by babzog View Post
Is there that much pressure behind a 14" and less wall?

I'd planned to put rock behind, was just not looking forward to putting in a drain pipe. What do I do with it (the pipe) at the point where the wall ends (excavated area meets grade)?
If you live where there is frost then yes you will have problems with movement,you can cut the ends of the pipe at a bevel and cover with dirt after wrapping the sock over the ends,it;s function is to channel water.
You may visualize flowing water but this will not be the case.
All it will do is allow the water to go somewhere when the ground becomes saturated
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:04 PM   #5
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Drain required in low retaining wall?


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Originally Posted by Ravenworks View Post
If you live where there is frost then yes you will have problems with movement,you can cut the ends of the pipe at a bevel and cover with dirt after wrapping the sock over the ends,it;s function is to channel water.
You may visualize flowing water but this will not be the case.
All it will do is allow the water to go somewhere when the ground becomes saturated
Oh yeah, thar be frost here. Manual for pool suggests a 2" layer of crushed stone, compacted to the level ground, for the bottom plates and track to sit on in frost areas.

I had thought, from the descriptions I'd read elsewhere, that I needed to take that drain pipe somewhere (I had visions of much digging through roots in my future), but what you propose would be very easy to implement.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:40 AM   #6
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Drain required in low retaining wall?


Drainage wouldn't be an issue or pressure for that matter on a retaining wall that is 12-14" high. Most likely that's only 2 blocks high. Just make sure you line the back side of the wall with landscaping fabric to allow water to penetrate as well as a few inches of 3/4 gravel. That will suffice.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:41 PM   #7
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Drain required in low retaining wall?


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Drainage wouldn't be an issue or pressure for that matter on a retaining wall that is 12-14" high. Most likely that's only 2 blocks high. Just make sure you line the back side of the wall with landscaping fabric to allow water to penetrate as well as a few inches of 3/4 gravel. That will suffice.
I figure it will be four courses high, once I partly bury the base course (each block being 4" tall).

Should the landscape fabric completely surround the gravel backfill? I was originally just going to line the bottom, top and backside with the cloth to prevent the silty material from entering the rock.

I'm also considering a railroad tie wall, which should be about two ties high. Much cheaper to build, but I wonder how long it will last?

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