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OlyTDI 10-31-2011 07:14 PM

Shoring-up part of the property slumping into the ravine
I live at the top of a revine that is quite stable. What's not stable, is the fill at the top that constitues the yard. Over the last 10 years, I've lost probably 6 ft of elevation where this yard meets the ravine due to slow slumping and erosion of this non-native soil layer. The area in question is probably 80 ft in length and would average about 4 ft in hight.

I understand enough about this to move toward a retaining project. The problem with shoring-up a slope is that your shoring-up material also has to reside on a slope! So, I've thought of a number of alternatives but would love some experienced input.

One possibility is a large stone/boulder retaining wall stepped into the slope such that it will remain in place. I found a couple of contractors experienced with this and it looks like about a $10K project that probably will work.

Another option is to put-in plilings to penetrate to the native layer of soil and then use those pilings to support a poured concrete wall. Don't know how pricey this would be but probably a lot more than $10K.

Timbers, fencing, and the like are simply too light for the retention required. Anyone have any other ideas?


Msradell 10-31-2011 09:15 PM

Have you considered anything like this:

Daniel Holzman 11-01-2011 07:21 AM

There are at least a dozen different types of walls that are built for various purposes. The lowest cost typically are the segmental block retaining walls. The blocks are made by companies such as Versalok or Ideal, and some of them probably have a local plant. Installation is fairly rapid, but does require drainage and proper backfill, so you would almost certainly have to remove a portion of the slumping soil and replace with proper backfill aggregate.

There are all types of gravity retaining walls, including stone, cast concrete block, and complicated reinforced earth structures. Typically expensive to install, usually requires a lot of heavy equipment, not DIY friendly.

There are cast in place concrete walls in all different shapes. One common type is the L shaped wall, which incorporates reinforced concrete. Expensive to build, but can hold back most anything if properly designed. Not for the DIYer.

There are oddball walls such as metal gabions. There are soldier pile and lagging walls that use steel or wooden piles with cross beams to support soil. T Wall makes special shaped concrete blocks that can be used for retaining soil.

That is the short list. I suggest you hire a local engineer familiar with your area to design a cost effective wall for you, and be present at least part of the time during installation, unless you feel up to the DIY challenge of building your own wall. Selection of the "best" wall requires a site visit, local knowledge of conditions, and an in depth discussion with you about exactly what you are looking for in terms of performance, longevity, cost, and appearance. This is hard to do via an internet chat forum.

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