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Old 07-07-2008, 02:42 PM   #1
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Retaining wall


I am building a retaining wall along the back of my property. It will be about 2 feet tall, most likely a little less. It will be 97 feet long! I am planning to use 6" Drywall stones as the pricing seems more reasonable than the blocks that are popular now. There is no ornamental requirements for the wall as my property backs up to a wetlands preservation and cannot be viewed from that side. I'm sure I will have many questions but here is the first.

I have a fence that runs across the back. It has a gate that I use to access my mulch pile and to mow around the outside of the fence line. I want to build a ramp at this gate for ease of access. How do I do this?

a)Have an opening in the retaining wall and simply put dirt and gravel in a slope.I'm concerned I'll be creating a river for dirt to slide down in this area.

b)Build the wall across the front of the gate and pile sloped dirt and gravel to make a ramp in after the wall.

c) Build the wall like b)but leave the top stones off in front of the gate then pile dirt and gravel here.

I do not want stairs because I can't get my lawn mower up and down it. I also am hesitant to build a wooden ramp because I do not want to create a habitat for the many animals that live in the wetlands.

Any ideas?

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Old 07-07-2008, 11:09 PM   #2
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Retaining wall


I'd go ahead and build the wall all the way across. Where your ramp will be, you can build two perpindicular walls off the main wall to retain the ramp itself. I'd build the ramp using compacted earth or gravel. If you establish grass there as soon as possible, I doubt you'll have too much problem with erosion.

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Old 07-09-2008, 10:47 PM   #3
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Retaining wall


Thanks Termite. I think that's exactly what I'll do. Would you intertwine the rocks where the two perpendicular walls come together or just butt up against each other?
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Old 09-19-2009, 12:37 PM   #4
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Retaining wall


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
I'd go ahead and build the wall all the way across. Where your ramp will be, you can build two perpendicular walls off the main wall to retain the ramp itself. I'd build the ramp using compacted earth or gravel. If you establish grass there as soon as possible, I doubt you'll have too much problem with erosion.
Just to follow through, this is what I ended up doing. This project has taken me two summers. I am almost finished and couldn't have done it without the 15 year old neighbor boy and his Dad's lawn tractor! I lost count but I think we moved 7 tons of gravel and a bunch of dirt. The wall itself is finished but I still have to til and seed the ground around one area and I want to put dirt on the ramp and seed that too. A friend that does this kind of thing for a living told me he was surprised because most DIY'ers don't build retaining walls right and they end up deterioating quickly. He said mine will be there for a long time. I was glad to hear that.
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Old 09-19-2009, 02:12 PM   #5
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Retaining wall


Hurriken -

Where are you located?

What is a "Drywall" stone? - Is it just a knock-off and smaller than the commonly used units around the world.

Do you have any photos?

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Old 09-19-2009, 02:44 PM   #6
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I'm not sure where I got the term "drywall stone" that must have been a mistake. I used "Castle Wall" stone I purchased from a large chain hardware store.

I'm located in the NW suburbs of Chicago. I have a lot of pictures. I'll try to post some tonight.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:26 PM   #7
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I remember now, the local Stone dealers had something they called Drywall stone. I found that castle wall ston didn't look as nice but it was cheaper. This wall is in the back of my property so it didn't need to be "pretty".

Here are the photo's.

The beginning. I live near Chicago, a wall needs a gravel bed so that the water drains well. If this step is skipped the wall will shift when that moisture freezes and your wall will look like Stonehenge in just a few years. I dug a trench 4 inches wider than the stone and deep enough for a 4 inch bed.


Testing my plan.


The gravel is filled and tamped down. The first row is placed level and back filled with gravel. The back fill is tamped.


I built it across the gate threshold. Does a gate have a threshold?


I layed brick out from the wall for a ramp.




I need to count again but I think I used over 400 bricks.


I'm going to add a few more bricks to this ramp, cover it in soil, and seed it.



The wall is finished except for moving some soil around.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:26 PM   #8
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This part was really hard to dig. You can see the sump pump drain.



I wish I had a before picture of this. The soil dropped down a good 8 inches lower than the fence in the corner and the manhole cover stuck out. This area was difficult to mow. The seed has come in well.





What would I do different? The fence is two years old. Several people, including the fence company convinced me a wall was not necessary. After the fence was built I realized I needed the wall. I wish I could have built it before the fence went up. As you can see it isn't a high wall. If that flow station wasn't back there I would have dumped dirt back there and sloped it down.

Overall I'm pretty happy with it.

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Last edited by Hurriken; 09-22-2009 at 05:11 PM.
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