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Old 06-05-2009, 07:36 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Western Masschusetts
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about to do my first retaining wall

i'm very excited to soon be building my first wall alongside my driveway at my first home in town.

here is a pic of the site of the wall. it will be curving gently alongside, then a sharper turn running along the road for about 10 feet, and ending at a tree. it will be roughly 50' long.

after i grade and level the driveway, i estimate the bank will be around 2' high, maybe 3' at the highest point.

have done a fair amount of reading about how to actually build it, but am still toiling with what kind of stone to use.

i'm liking the southbay quartzite quite a bit, and it's b asically the only thing i can afford locally. otherwise, there's "redding stone," a granite out of redding CT that a guy is selling very cheaply.

i think a limestone would look nice, but i can't find a source on it.

is it reasonable to think i can pull off a wall that looks like this:

i'd much prefer the random sort of "jigsaw puzzle" look, but i can't seem to find the right stone at the right price, and i fear to build that sort of wall might be a bit out of my grasp.

i just don't want my wall to come out looking like someone slapped a bunch of blocks together in a weekend. i'll take the whole summer if i have to, to get it looking really tight.

a few questions:

i plan to dig down 6-8", fill up 4" of gravel, then begin the wall maybe one course below grade, or just slightly below. is this OK?
with the wall being only 2' high or so, is it necessary to angle it slightly into the bank?
what is the best way to achieve this properly? string lines? batter boards every few feet placed maybe 5-10 degrees out of plumb?

can i take an occasional stone and stick it in the wall on it's edge, to create the illusion of a few larger boulders stuck in there, or would the area be too weak and prone to falling out?

i plan on drystacking the whole thing, no mortar anywhere.

do you guys think the southbay quartzite is appropriate for my house, in a residential neighborhood?

thanks a lot for any feedback!
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:17 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Michigan
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Can't help with the choice of stone.
-Try photoshoping/paint a couple different wall patterns onto your own pics. I personally don't think a yellow stone would go well with the white house.
-Make a blueprint of the whole yard, and draw some sketches first. The entire plans may change with new ideas(patio here..walkway there..etc).
-Factor in a french drain behind the wall and a place to drop it, and spend some time on the base material.

Congrats on the purchase, btw. Feels nice, eh? The endorphines will diminish somewhat with the tax bills, the materials cost, the hidden roof problems, etc..., but will return little by little.
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:39 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Good luck with your first wall! Closest stone I could find to what you are looking for is this. Atlas Hardscapes Abbey Blend. It shouldn't be that extremely overpriced. When you say gravel, you are referring to crusher run?
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