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Old 04-20-2017, 03:23 PM   #1
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Landscape Timbers for building up yard to allow for a level area for kids playset


Hello,

I am looking to use landscape timbers so that I can level out an area of my yard to allow for the installation of my kids playset. See attached photo, we are looking to do a similar type of layout. Except in the picture, they lowered the high side, where I am going to raise my low side. We have a descent downslope on one corner of where the playset would go. Based on the size of the playset, and also allowing for room to run around (safety area/zone), the max drop from the high end, to the opposite corner on the diagonal is about 16 inches. Its pretty flat (around 1" drop per 4' length) for about 3/4th of the playset area, but then the last 5-7 feet drop somewhat quickly. Would be hard to install play set on that area. I wanted to build up that low corner with 4 or 5 layers of 4x4 PT landscape timbers, then backfill the low spot to level it off some. I will keep a 1" drop per 4' length to allow for drainage of the soil. I will have landscape timbers all around though, similar to the photo, to seperate the grass and rubber mulch we plan to use. HD and Lowes sell 4x4 PT timbers, that use MCA (Micronized Copper Azole) for the PT, to a retention weight of 0.15. Per awpa website: http://www.awpa.com/references/homeowner.asp, this says that for ground contact general use, a level of 0.15 is required.

My questions with regards to this are as follows:
1. Would this wood be sufficient, being southern yellow pine, having the PT of MCA retention of 0.15? (I also called 2 local lumber dealers, and they have the exact same wood, rated for ground contact, its SYP with MCA, 0.15 retention).

2. For attaching the timber to the ground, I was going to drive 3'-6" long #5 rebar through the bottom 2 timber layers and drive the rebar into the ground. For an 8' length board, should I use 2 or 3 pieces of rebar along the 8' length? I was thinking 2 rebars, use one 2' off each end of the 8', so rebar would be spaced 4' apart?

3. For attaching one layer of wood to the one below it, how far apart should the galvanized spikes be (was going to use 3/8" x 8" long galvanized spikes).

4. With regards to the spikes, do I use spikes for each layer of wood, or can I lay say 3 layers of wood, and use a 10" (or even 12") long spike to connect all 3 layers? (I was thinking you want to attach each layer to the one below it.)

5. Do I need to install a drainage pipe at this low corner? I was thinking of laying some gravel at the low spot, install a few PVC pipes through the bottom layer of timber, just so that any water buildup in that low corner can drain out through the pvc weep holes. WOuld cover the pvc pipe with some mesh to retain the soil/gravel, but allow water to drain out (similar to a bridge abutment or wingwall).

Thanks in advance,
Steve
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Last edited by svaic00; 04-20-2017 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:20 PM   #2
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Re: Landscape Timbers for building up yard to allow for a level area for kids playset


You seem to be on the right track.
Those first rebar pegs could probably be shorter for the size of your wall.
Stagger the joints above the first row.
I would nail each row.
Predrill for the nails.
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:55 PM   #3
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Re: Landscape Timbers for building up yard to allow for a level area for kids playset


How far apart should I space the spikes, one at each end, and one in the center (so spaced about every 4 ft apart)?

Also, would 2 rebars per 8' length be good embedded in ground, or should I go with 3?

If I use 3/8" diameter spikes, what size hole should I pre-drill with, 1/4" (so 1/8" less)?

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:06 PM   #4
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Re: Landscape Timbers for building up yard to allow for a level area for kids playset


Sounds about right for the short wall you have there.

If the nails split the wood, or are too hard to pound in, change then hole size.
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Old 09-15-2017, 10:19 AM   #5
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Re: Landscape Timbers for building up yard to allow for a level area for kids playset


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Originally Posted by svaic00 View Post
Hello,

I am looking to use landscape timbers so that I can level out an area of my yard to allow for the installation of my kids playset. See attached photo, we are looking to do a similar type of layout.
Hi Steve, did you finish this project? I want to do the exact same thing and wanted to see how it turned out and if you had any advice?

I have the exact same questions you did, especially on draining the lower end of the surround to ensure water doesn't pool during heavy rain.

Thanks
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:32 AM   #6
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Re: Landscape Timbers for building up yard to allow for a level area for kids playset


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Originally Posted by jmvar44 View Post
Hi Steve, did you finish this project? I want to do the exact same thing and wanted to see how it turned out and if you had any advice?

I have the exact same questions you did, especially on draining the lower end of the surround to ensure water doesn't pool during heavy rain.

Thanks
JMVAR,

I have attached a photo of the swingset and wood wall. The back right corner is the lowest spot, approx 16" above the grass.

To answer my questions I had above:

1. I used the 4x4 PT lumber from lowes that had the 0.15 MCA, which is rated for ground contact. See this link http://www.awpa.com/references/homeowner.asp. Says that for MCA for UC4A (ground contact general use) should be 0.15.

2. I used 3.33' lengths (10' in 3 equal lengths) of #5 rebar, driven through the bottom 2 layers of wood. I used 2 per 8' length. Due to the first and second layers being staggered, just have to layout the rebars and see what works. A few spots may have ended up having 3 rebars in an 8' section. For my one tall corner, I used 4' rebar, and drove through the bottom 3 layers of wood for that first 8' section. It sure did take some time and energy to drive those rebars with a 10 lb sledge hammer (drilled 5/8" hole for 5/8" rebar).

3. I used 4 of the galvanized spikes per 8' section. Again lay these out before nailing, to make sure you are not right above another stake below it, or right on a joint in the wood below due to staggering of layers.

4. I used 8" long x 3/8" galvanized spikes, and only attached 2 layers together. So each layer has the spikes, except the bottom row.

5. I did not install drainage, my low spot, there are 1/8" gaps in the bottom layer of my wood at the low corner, right at the joint of 2 boards in the corner (my bad when I nailed in the spikes, the wood moved). I poured some water on my filter fabric, and the water came out of those gaps. If I had a tight corner, I was just going to drill 2 or 3, 1/2" diameter holes in the corner, and then cover it with a mesh from the inside, so gravel doesn't spill out, but can still drain.

I graded the soil so it has a continuous slope to that corner, covered it with landscape fabric, and then filled in the low corner with gravel,, to make that corner flush with the rest of the soil around it. That low corner had a significant drop, so all the water that may build up, will flow to that corner along the fabric, drain through the gravel, and then drain out through the wood gaps in the corner. I did cover the wood gaps with a fiberglass mesh. I bought window screen repair kits, and they already came with adhesive on the backside, so just stuck that to the inside corner of the wood. I used 2 layers of the mesh just to prevent if one of them were to break, still have a second mesh layer.

Hope this helps.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 04-29-2018, 10:08 PM   #7
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The wonders of a connected world. I'm planning on installing a playset in the exact manner as you described. Thanks for an excellent post.

What are the dimensions of the timbers surrounding the play area?

Thanks
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