I am new here and I appreciate any if not all recommendations for any of my future accomplishments. I live in Northern California and I'd say rain is about 4 months away. My wife and I bought a 2200sf home in 2009. The house is in great shape and the backyard is as well but not to what I envision. Before the rainy season gets here, I would like to put a retaining wall/mow strip around the perimeter of my lawn. I took the old one out last year because the lawn soil was elevated higher than the 2x4's or 6's the previous owner had. I have noticed some erosion in areas but not bad. My goal is to have a lawn area that is uniform and healthy. My decision is to start with a retaining wall/mow strip. Then move to the irrigation maintenance which works well. I just want to stop the erosion. What would be the most sufficient and economical way to go. I have thought about railroad ties as well. What do you guys think? Any suggestions would be great. How deep should the wall be as well as how high above the lawn. Or should it be level with the lawn. Thank you. J
Personally I like segmental block retaining walls. Many companies make the block, including Versalok, Durock, Ideal .... The blocks are concrete, and they typically have a groove and lock system so you can line them up correctly. They typically require only a minimal footing, depending on the height of the wall. You do need to backfill correctly, and typically it is necessary to install a drain line on the uphill side of the wall. The manufacturer will generally have a complete installation guide, with drawings and details on exactly how to put the wall in, which will vary depending on height of wall, type of soil, and if there are any steps or curves.
The blocks are concrete, and should last longer than your house, if properly installed. This is a relatively easy DIY project, except perhaps for the excavation, which may require a backhoe if you are doing a lot of wall. This type of wall is generally less expensive than competing wall types, and will last longer than any wood retaining wall, no matter how well treated the wood is. You can get price quotes from your local supplier. See many threads on this site regarding installation, maintenance, cost, attractiveness.
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