Short Moss Rock Retaining Walls: Landscape Design  -- Landscape Discussion Forum and Review Short Moss Rock Retaining Walls: Landscape Design -- Landscape Discussion Forum

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 02-16-2004, 23:36 Post: 77094
HuckMeat

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 Short Moss Rock Retaining Walls

I'm planning on creating some short retaining walls/terraces around one side of my house to transition from my walkout basement to the front side of the house. I have an elevation change of 8' over a 20' distance.

My engineer recommended that I build short (under 4') retaining walls, rather than do anything bigger (which then requires his design and stamp).

I have a BH90 backhoe, and a FEL with quick-tach, and was thinking of getting some pallet forks.

I have tons of natural moss rock - (So much in fact, that local landscapers have been trying to sneak onto my property to "borrow" some rather large rocks).

What is the best way to go about building short (say 2-3') rock retaining walls. I have boulders in the 2-3' range. Should I cut terraces with the back hoe, use the FEL to put big rocks into place, and then use smaller one as capstones to the big ones? Should I be pouring a concrete wall behind them? Thoughts?

I'd like to put a little planter bed between each one, say 3 walls, 6' or so between walls, with some kind of small tree or whatnot between them.

Ideas, thoughts? I suppose that I could hire it out, and get a pretty good price with my local materials, but I was thinking it might be a good project for my new tractor, and I can probable do most of the work from above (level) or below (very mild, 1% grade)






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 02-17-2004, 04:07 Post: 77102
harvey



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 Short Moss Rock Retaining Walls

Hopefully Murf will pick this thread up cause he knows lottsa stuff about this.

I have a couple of BFRs here. I did not build a footer for any of them. So every year they sink a little. Every 3-4 years I hoist them up and put some #2 stone under them and relevel.

I can not figure it out every year the frost brings stones and rocks closer to the surface pushing them up. Or as some people say growing rocks. Since that is true why aren't mine on their tippy toes?

Oh yea back to the thread. I'd make sure your rocks have something solid to sit on and built below the frost line. You could use lottsa rocks for a footer also and tie them all in to your terracing. You will want something behind them to hold the soil out of them either lottsa smaller rocks mortored in or a concrete wall. Frost will push and heave the stuffing out of a nice design with out solid footers and retainment.

A good rock is one somebody else picks! Harvey






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 02-17-2004, 04:22 Post: 77103
grinder

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 Short Moss Rock Retaining Walls

If you can keep the water out from under the walls you
will have less movement. Not sure how much frost you get ?
Take the time to subgrade the project and route the storm
water away. A base of course gravel and stone,Pipe if needed, layer of filter cloth.set your rocks and backfill with course material to allow the water out. You may want to look into some sediment fabric over
your backfills to prevent build up in the base drainage
area. You can lay this in before you mulch you finish grade.
There is quite a few web pages on wall building, I typed in
how to build a stone wall and got several. It's really not
that hard, like most things it's the prep. work that counts.
A set of rock tongs or a thumb would be nice with your hoe.
Have fun!






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 02-17-2004, 08:30 Post: 77117
Murf



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 Short Moss Rock Retaining Walls

Somebody called ? Laughing out loud, thanks for the plug Harvey.

I guess the first thing to make painfully clear is that retaining walls are (or should be) like icebergs, only a small portion is actually visible. If that's not the case then the retaining wall will lean, shift, and eventaully tumble over.

You don't say so, but it sounds like you have an 8' change in grade that actually runs in two directions. It slopes down along the house wall to the walk-out, plus it slopes down to match grade going AWAY from the house. If this is the case the job will be a lot easier since you will have a 'ramp' to drive up to get to each wall, that being the terrace for the next wall.

While large random boulders (BFR's) can be used to build a wall they present several problems; placing them, ensuring they are well supported to prtevent future movement, filling the gaps between them, and finishing the top edge. Especially in a case where it next to your house you will want a way to bring turf right up to the edge, and still be able to easily maintain (cut) it. Likewise at the bottom, you will want to be able to cut right up to the lower edge. Irregular surfaces do look nice, but their a bugger to maintain.

As for the physical aspects of it, a 2-3' BFR is a heavy object, if it's a granitic type rock they could easily be 2,000+ pounds each. They are best placed with either a sling on a crane or a big excavator with a thumb, the latter being the easiest and fastest.

It's a pretty big job for the average DIY'er but far from impossible. It can be reduced a big by keeping some slope above and below and just build two 3' walls using up the other 2' in slopes. This will also look more natural.

As I stated above with the 'iceberg' comment, the prep. and footings are critical. A BFR that big needs at least a two base of large (1"+) crushed stone, well compacted, beneath it to keep it from moving. Drainage behind is equally important, water cannot be allow to filter out through the wall, it will cause erosion and de-stabilize the wall.

If the wall's are not going to be very long I would highly recommend using a precast concrete product. The time (and money) you will save building the walls should more than make up for the cost of purchasing the procuct. Precast would be a VERY easy DIY project, especially given the equipment you already have. You would only need to rent couple of small items to do a first class job.

Have a look at the site below, they have probably the best wall system there is (and not just because it was created by a friend of mine Tony Risi), it is VERY easy to install and extremely durable. Go to 'Products', 'Garden Walls' and then browse the options available. The 'Do-It-Yourself' section shows the basics of how it is done and there are some other neat resources on that site also.

Best of luck.






Link:   Unilock Stone 

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