Retaining Wall Options

Discussion in 'The BS Topic' started by GoldenOne7710, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. GoldenOne7710

    GoldenOne7710 Equal Opportunity Offender Lifetime Gold Member

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    So our new house is going to have a bit of a slope right behind the house...then it levels off several yards on further back. The problem is that we want to keep several of the mature hardwood trees (for shade). So if we level the entire back of the lot, we'll have to lose every single tree. An in-ground pool (something I cannot talk the family out of) is inevitable within a couple of years of moving in.

    So, if/when we decide to do the pool, we'll have to cut the bank way back to make room for it. The further back it'll go...the higher the terrain is. So a retaining wall on the back side of the pool apron will have to go up in order to keep the trees...and we can also sow in some grass and have a 'back yard'. Also I'll have to cut a driveway on one side that will lead to my shop that I'll also build to keep my Camaro in.

    So, comes the question. Stone, RR cross ties, or block? Money does play a key factor. Of course I want the best bang for the buck, but I also want something that will be trouble free, durable, and long lasting. I care more about those things more than I do looks. I feel like we can make the most of whichever material we decide.
     
  2. Gary S

    Gary S Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

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    I like the landscape blocks best, but they just sit on top of each other with a small lip on the back to keep them from sliding. That limits the height you want the wall. If you choose blocks, check the manufacturer's suggestions as to maximum height and the correct intallation.
     
  3. OldCamaroNut

    OldCamaroNut Veteran Member Gold Member

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    If you have wall building questions, email the Donald....he will have many excellent tips. including how to hire cheap Mexican labor, and even get them to pay for it!
     
  4. z2880

    z2880 Veteran Member

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    Go with landscape block, easy to do if your handy, that's what we did when I built in ground pools and walls
     
  5. GoldenOne7710

    GoldenOne7710 Equal Opportunity Offender Lifetime Gold Member

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    That's the problem, I really won't know how high the wall will need to be until the time comes. I guess I'll have to wait to see what options I'll have when we determine how much of the bank will need to be excavated. I 'plan' on doing most of the landscaping myself...minus the pool and apron...unless it just makes more sense to let the pool installers handle it all...which I know will cost a lot more. I also prefer the look of the landscaping blocks, but like you said, they're limited depending on that they're supporting.

    This is something I just wanted to plan ahead for. I want to have all my bases covered and not be blind-sided with any surprises. This lot will also have to have a septic tank and the location of it will dictate how the pool will be laid out.
     
  6. Shizzle

    Shizzle Veteran Member

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    Odds are you will need a Site Plan done by an engineer.
     
  7. GoldenOne7710

    GoldenOne7710 Equal Opportunity Offender Lifetime Gold Member

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    I honestly don't believe it will be THAT involved. BUT, if we do, we're in luck. My wife's cousin is THE head of the building/construction dept for the University of GA...and holds a title of engineer as well as building inspector.

    I may have made it sound a bit more dramatic than it actually will be. Most of the problem is going to be choosing what material to build the wall with. Down here in GA, we have 'GA red clay' that actually will stay together on its own for the most part. The actual retaining wall I wouldn't think would need to do much 'retaining' or supporting the weight of the land. That doesn't mean a hard enough rain couldn't wash it out. But I still don't want to half-ass it regardless.
     
  8. Shizzle

    Shizzle Veteran Member

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    No but the engineer would design how high you'd need it, drainage issue, material spec, etc.
    I would give the cousin a call.
     
  9. grzewnicki

    grzewnicki Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Once you go over a certain height depending on the soil behind it you're of course looking into a tie back system that anchors the wall to the land behind it. You would think clay would be good behind the wall, but actually a sandy soil allows you to build higher without reinforcement. Lots of retaining wall block makers have charts with basic numbers of height vs soil conditions. Here is an example

    http://www.allanblock.com/retaining-walls/gravity-wall-chart.aspx
     
  10. Ryan 79

    Ryan 79 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    There is a brand of block called Anchor Wall Block, Anchor designs it and sells it to a bunch of different manufacturers. I worked for a company that manufactured and delivered it for 12 years, I have seen thousands of walls, anything from 1 foot high to over 150' high using our block.

    Anchor specifies that their block is not good more than 4' high without engineering. Nearly all block will say this. Nobody makes a stackable block for a straight up and down wall, all blocks for retaining wall will have a lip or ears built into them for a setback angle, the setback it what give the wall strength.


    http://www.anchorwall.com/design-ideas/image-gallery#product20

    Thats what we made, and I have seen homes that put all these pics to shame.

    If you work with these, do them right. I have seen walls fall over in process(they didnt fill behind it as they were working), and I saw a huge wall, one we delivered 75 pallets of block for, catastrophically fail because they didnt put the drain pipes in it(the also did it with no engineereing)

    They are a good product, and a cost effective product, they should last a lifetime if done right.
    Ive got 15 or so pallets of it in my yard(I got them free), and have had no problems, but mone of mine are over 3 blocks high. Do them per instructions and engineering if required, you will only do it once, and youll be done. Its not cheap, but it should last forever.
     

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