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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Our builder is almost complete with our house, and "builders grade" is complete -- which is really just a crappy clay dumped around, in which landscaper makes it all work. I'm doing the landscaping. Along the porch (pictured), I need grade max 30" below edge, and need some sort of walkway along or close to the porch so we can easily walk along the house. Also, there is an egress window there that we'd want to retain the dirt.

I'm thinking of following options (#1 less effort and $ than #2):

1. put a few rows of boulders on backside of porch in front of window. Bring in a lot of fill dirt and grade it out, plant grass as the walkway.

2. use retaining wall block and do an "L" shape around the porch with about 5' around the porch. Again bring in lot of fill dirt, plant grass, and walkway would be on the outside of the retaining wall.

Suggestions?
Road surface Wood Cloud Land lot Asphalt


Cloud Sky Slope Asphalt Road surface
 

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Years ago I was living right down on the water in Palacios Texas.

One of the neighbors built a retaining wall on the slope down to the water in front of his property.

At first I couldn't figure out what in the world he was doing.

I thought, now wait a minute, I think he skipped the mixing step.

After awhile his building method made sense and looked like it belonged there.

I've always wanted to try this, but I don't need a retaining wall.

So check this out.


If you don't want to wait for the weather to do it's thing, you can burn it off.

Just don't get it hot or burn the house down.
 

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He’d have to leave clearance for the dryer vent and furnace exhaust pipe. Not sure how tight that might get.
He’d have to leave clearance for the dryer vent and furnace exhaust pipe. Not sure how tight that might get.
You just move the stairs out away from the wall, Cost an extra hand rail.
 

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At first I couldn't figure out what in the world he was doing.

I thought, now wait a minute, I think he skipped the mixing step.

I've always wanted to try this, but I don't need a retaining wall.
I wouldn't get too excited. From what I've seen, concrete-bag walls fall apart much faster than expected -- which shouldn't be unexpected considering the concrete isn't mixed properly.
 

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I would remove that pile of dirt under porch and replace wooden posts with metal. I would order metal stairs online. Cost about $3000. Then seed the lawn.
While metal posts and stairs would hold up better they're going to give it a much more industrial look which may not be something that the OP is interested in.
 

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While metal posts and stairs would hold up better they're going to give it a much more industrial look which may not be something that the OP is interested in.
That is so true. I used metal posts to hold my front porch up for safety reasons then encased them in wood and stone for good looks. So that is an option.
The viewable side of his stairs could be faced with wood as well as the posts.
I just don't trust structures that are supported by buried wood. I want a really durable strong structure that is camouflaged to create the right look. If the wood posts fail, then the whole structure fails. Just my thoughts.
 

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Can I just build up more concrete on the circle footer up high enough to be above the grade? that way the wood isn't buried.
My observation is that wood rots when exposed to rain that accumulates around the wood. Even if you build up from the bottom, the water then accumulates in and around the wood from the top and still rots. I just wouldn't invest any time and $$$ starting with wood posts that will rot. Failure could hurt people.
 
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