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Old 03-20-2017, 03:21 PM   #1
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Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


The right side of my yard slopes 6 foot from the patio to the right edge of the house. I would like to plant a bed along the right wall under those windows and would like for the bed area to be level out to about 3 foot from the wall, then slope down to the existing slope to divert drainage to the right.

On the right side under the last set of windows, the depth from the new bed down to the existing dirt will be appx 4-6 feet. I understand that I could use a wall of interlocking pavers on the right side to hold the dirt. That's probably where I'm headed with this but before I fully commit, I wanted to ask for some opinion.

What are your thoughts on the possibility of just gently sloping the dirt on the right side rather than creating a hard wall break there with retaining wall pavers? I would sod that slope with some planting (grass, mondo or similar) to help prevent erosion and the slope from back to front should help much with water runoff. The only level area will be along the wall where the tea olives appear in the last pic below.









My Waterproofing thread for this project > http://www.diychatroom.com/f16/retai...ptions-483529/

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Old 03-20-2017, 03:25 PM   #2
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Re: Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


You can slope soil at a maximum of about 35 degrees, if it is mostly granular soil. Any steeper and you need a retaining wall of some sort to keep the soil in place.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:45 PM   #3
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Re: Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


Thanks Daniel. To get 35 degree slope, I'll likely bury my water spigot under the slope. Its coming out of the wall under the right side windows. Any suggestions for that? Can I create an underground box to access?


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Old 03-21-2017, 10:35 PM   #4
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Re: Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


That's obviously an option or you could raise the faucet higher up on the wall. Do you have access to the backside of that faucet from inside your home in a basement area? If so relocating it higher up on the wall would probably be the easiest and cheapest solution.
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:27 AM   #5
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Re: Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


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That's obviously an option or you could raise the faucet higher up on the wall. Do you have access to the backside of that faucet from inside your home in a basement area? If so relocating it higher up on the wall would probably be the easiest and cheapest solution.
I have access but somewhat limited. The faucet pipe runs through brick plus two layers of concrete wall. The first wall is the foundation and the second is a cinder block storm shelter in the basement. You can see the two walls and the air gap between them in the 3rd pic in my original post.
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Old 03-22-2017, 10:00 AM   #6
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Re: Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


Here's the pic I mentioned in the post above:



The left wall is the exterior wall, the right wall is the storm shelter wall. The exterior faucet pipe can be seen near the top in the gap. The interior main water shutoff is inside the storm shelter.
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:52 AM   #7
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Re: Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


Just extend the pipe outside up the wall and mount your new spigot when you're done filling in. Install a drain tap inside.
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Old 03-22-2017, 02:38 PM   #8
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Re: Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


You will want to waterproof the wall behind the leveled portion.
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:21 PM   #9
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Re: Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


I wouldn't build a retaining wall at all. I would plant right in front of it using larger and larger shrubs from left to right.
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Old 03-23-2017, 08:39 AM   #10
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Re: Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


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You will want to waterproof the wall behind the leveled portion.
Thanks. I will be applying a dimpled waterproofing material for waterproofing along with a gravel channel at the bottom of the fill with a weeping channel/piping to the right side of the house for drainage: http://www.diychatroom.com/f16/retai...ptions-483529/
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Old 04-07-2017, 11:15 PM   #11
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Re: Do I need a retaining wall or can I just slope and landscape?


Going back and forth on the slope vs retaining wall issue. Leaning towards going with a gently sloped (max 35 degrees as Daniel indicated) right side vs a hard break retaining wall. I have concerns with the cost and aesthetics of an engineered wall.

Going with the natural sloping grade will be preferable (and I'm expecting much less expensive). The skid steer guy will just have a bit more work to do perhaps to compact and shape the slope for sod.



I will still include waterproofing membrane and gravel based drainage system along the entire wall, venting to the right side beyond the house. To get 35 degree slope, the yard can be level all the way to the middle of the last set of windows on the right (almost exactly above the water spigot). There will be few large Deodar Cedar planted there so the slope will not be obvious anyway. Hopefully the Cedar trees will help to anchor the slope. I will also be sodding the entire fill with Zoysia to match the existing grass and to prevent erosion of the new fill.

I've already dug the trench out for the retaining wall so I may go ahead and lay a couple courses that will be buried under the slope. Perhaps to create a geogrid of sorts to help prevent soil drift.

Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 04-07-2017 at 11:31 PM.
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