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Old 06-05-2012, 11:16 PM   #1
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What to build retaining wall out of?


I know, I know I ended the title with a preposition.

I am beginning to contemplate building a retaining wall in my backyard. My backyard is fairly steep/not conducive to the kids running and playing, so I want to build a retaining wall. Just spitballing, it will be about 50 feet long and 5-6feet tall in the middle. I know I have a bunch of research to do about drainage/proper backfill/talking to codes/cost/etc, but I am looking for opinions about material. In my mind I would use 6x6 pressure treated posts, but I am totally ignorant about this. So, any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Old 06-05-2012, 11:54 PM   #2
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What to build retaining wall out of?


I think you should look into a poured and reinforced concrete wall finished off however you want for appearance sake. Maybe filled concrete block and rebar.

You are talking a fair amount of hefty timber for a 50' long, 5-6' wall. I am not sure code will let you get away with something that high for residential for reasons like the sudden drop off and the possibility of kids playing and falling over it. You most certainly should plan on some sort of protrective railing system. You will have some serious drainage changes to work around too.

Can you terrace or will that chew up the yard to the point the kids cannot use it for play?

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Old 06-06-2012, 12:10 AM   #3
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What to build retaining wall out of?


You could use stacked concrete retaining wall pavers, such as Pisa Stone or Allen Block. You could also stagger it and create raised planters every 18" in height.

Retaining walls over six ft. in height sometimes are required to have an engineer's stamp when you go for a building permit, so if you can keep it under 6 ft., it will save you time and money. Check with the local building department to see the requirements.

If the retaining wall will be visible, you could make it a concrete block wall, then put stone or brick veneer on it, and incorporate planters.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:35 AM   #4
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What to build retaining wall out of?


A 6x6 wall will be falling over in time. Most don’t understand tiebacks and backfilling. I’ve been laying up block and solid concrete walls for decades and there’s a lot involved here. Used over 600 railroad ties decades ago when it was legal.

Block walls will accept lick and stick stone but a block wall is also very tricky.

For a DIYer I would stick the manmade hardscape stone and follow there manufacturing directions to the tee.
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:39 AM   #5
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What to build retaining wall out of?


Read this tread The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:31 AM   #6
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What to build retaining wall out of?


Terrace the hill rather than create a stockade.

PT 6x6 will be fine if do two walls of about 3 foot height.
Plan for and pre-cut for the deadman pieces.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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What to build retaining wall out of?


I was thinking of using 1/2" threaded rod to run to the deadman, which I have considered taking a five gallon bucket and filling it with concrtete. Thoughts?
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:48 AM   #8
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What to build retaining wall out of?


I understand you want to use 6x6's for a retaining wall, here's a thought my friend has used tires for her retaining wall.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:54 AM   #9
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What to build retaining wall out of?


Quote:
Originally Posted by shaunam View Post
I understand you want to use 6x6's for a retaining wall, here's a thought my friend has used tires for her retaining wall.
I have considered something like that. I am trying to think of something that would be unusual but also perfectly functional. Tires would be cool, but I think they would also be a nightmare. I would want to fill them with concrete and tie them together with rebar/cables/something.
Also, like most, I do not have a huge budget.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:56 PM   #10
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What to build retaining wall out of?


"retaining walls" over 4 ft. high are expensive as !@#$%^. a friend told me that it would cost something like $1500 for just the initial study which would include,I imagine,an engineer's time and drawing up the plans. granted my wall would be large but I think ANY retaining wall would be a big money drain!

tnx,

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