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Backyard Retaining Wall Build

25352 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  red92s
I've got to confess much of the information I learned about retaining walls, I picked up here. I figure it's only fair to pay it back.

My wife and I bought our first house in November of 2012. We realized at the time that the grade of the house sloped slightly towards the house, and the inspector even noted it as a point of concern. I don't think we realized just how probalmatic it would be. The grade, coupled with 2 downspouts exiting at the back of the house, resulted in major crawlspace flooding. The back of the house was an addition done by the seller, who renovated the property entirely before we bought it. So the good news is that water under there hadn't done much damage . . . yet. But it became pretty clear we needed to address the situation ASAP.

Because the seller built the addition with the same finished floor elevation as the rest of the house, there wasn't much exposed block foundation left below the siding where we could add dirt correct the grade. So, we decided to add a retaining wall about 20' off the back of the house. This

Digging the hole:

Digging the trench for the base course:

Base course set and leveled. I vastly underestimated how frustrating and time consuming this process would be. I'd guess there is 5-6 hours in getting those first blocks set and leveled. Using a laser transit, I show about 1/2" variation over the 30' straight section, which seems like it's well within the acceptable range.

The blocks are Allan Block, standard units, in a grey/tan blend. About 128 full size blocks, 5 jumbo juniors for the curves, and 9 tons of gravel.

Progress to this point. Need to rent the 14" concrete saw to blow through the corner caps quickly. So far, I'm very happy with my 30,000 lb creation. Still much to do to finalize the drainage and water control, but heading in the right direction for sure!

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Looks good, post more pictures of your progress.
This was the original layout. We ended up nixing the 2 course "peel off" and just running the right side 4 full side. I also ran the third course a bit farther to the left than I had planned for. So my calcs for blocks were a little off, and I had to buy a couple more to finish.

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I've begun backfilling and grading behind the wall. I'm trying to create a berm/swale behind the wall to intercept the surface water coming down the hill before reaching the wall. I've got some good slope in this area from the (from the fence towards where I'm standing in the first picture).

I'm wondering how best to collect this water (french drain, collection basins, etc) and convey it towards the driveway. You can see the 4" ridgid PVC collection system for the downpouts in the last picture. This takes roof water towards the front of the house and discharges across the driveway. I'm hoping to do something similar with whatever system goes behind the wall.

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