Author Topic: low stone wall  (Read 817 times)

Lentils4Lunch

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
low stone wall
« on: January 12, 2017, 02:26:15 PM »
Our house has a very steep front yard. We want to build a low stone or brick wall at the bottom of the hill, where our front garden meets the sidewalk. DH thinks we should hire people to do it, I think he can do it himself. He's reasonably handy, but he's just worried he'll screw it up and it will bother him forever and be there in plain sight for all the world to see.

We want it to look something like this: https://www.todayshomeowner.com/images/article/how-to-build-a-stackable-retaining-wall-1.jpg

Can I get some input? Do you think this is a project we can figure out how to do ourselves in a weekend and have it look decent?

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1454
  • Location: Cary, NC
Re: low stone wall
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 03:08:40 PM »
The type in the picture are easy to use. They have a lip on the back so they don't slip forward. For a low, level wall, as shown, he can do it. Much higher and I think you'd need something for drainage.

I used those to make a little raised bed for herbs. They don't corner well (the tighter the corner, the further back the next course sits).

The dirt behind the wall will compact and sink over time (unless you do a better job than I did compacting to begin with).

Go to Lowes or HD and putz with them, or buy a few dozen to see if they'll work for your yard.

Cwadda

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1464
  • Age: 22
Re: low stone wall
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 03:21:28 PM »
How intense are your winters?

My parents built their own stone walls which remained standing for 2-3 years before falling apart due to freeze/thaw action and frost heaving. When a professional came in they used concrete between stones which is a lot more involved of a process.

Lentils4Lunch

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Re: low stone wall
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 03:49:17 PM »
How intense are your winters?


We are in DC. It gets below freezing in the winter here sometimes... does that mean we should leave it to the pros?

Frugal Lizard

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 481
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Southwest Ontario
  • One foot in front of the other....
Re: low stone wall
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2017, 07:38:25 PM »
You can do it yourself as long as you follow the manufacturer's instructions for the base and the drainage behind the wall to prevent the hydro-static pressure from pushing your wall over during a deep freeze. Don't skimp on the drainage material or the filter cloth to keep the drainage material clean behind the wall. The front face of the wall should step back slightly as it goes up but the product will have a designed batter.  Make sure you buy the right block size for the height of your wall.  A lot of the early wall systems were too small of a block for the height.  The blocks in the photo are much too small for our area where we can get pretty deep frosts.  (Our friend's water line froze two winters ago because it was less than five feet deep)

A low wall of less than two feet doesn't require a railing to prevent falls in our jurisdiction and also happens to be the height with a much bigger footing becomes necessary. 

One thing that you have to be careful of is that you may need an encroachment agreement if your wall is being built on the publicly owned road allowance. Typically your property line is well back of the sidewalk.  Our municipality requires a special agreement that you agree that the city may damage your wall to make utility /road repairs and are not responsible for repairing your wall if they need to dig it up for any reason.  There may also be some space requirements beyond the edge of sidewalk for wobble room/snow clearing equipment etc.  Our municipality won't accept any retaining walls within a foot of the edge of the sidewalk.  There is also a gas line running parallel with the sidewalk about 18 offset and then behind that is telephone.  Neither of these is buried very deep across my frontage. The property line is about 10 feet off the edge of the sidewalk. 
Seeing the possibilities

Cwadda

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1464
  • Age: 22
Re: low stone wall
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2017, 07:00:54 AM »
I would get 2-3 quotes from reputable contractors and then see where you stand.

lthenderson

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 807
Re: low stone wall
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2017, 07:49:14 AM »
They are easy to install once you know how to install them correctly but I've seen most DIY versions done incorrectly and they look like crap within a few years. The keys are you need an excellent base, excellent drainage behind them and the first course needs to be perfectly level. I would guess done right 80% of the work is getting these three things right and the last 20% is adding all the remaining courses.

There are lots of video's online showing how to attempt such a thing correctly. Spend a half hour or more watching them and then decide if it is something you can tackle.

MariaSouth

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 222
Re: low stone wall
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2017, 12:11:42 AM »
I am planning to build a low retaining wall myself, with the help of my 11 years old son. Not of stone though (we do not have that kind of stackable stone), but brick or cinder block covered in stone. I asked around and was told to use iron bars to give it structure and avoid cracking, and to use concrete plaster on the inside to isolate the wall from the humid dirt. But we do not have winters too crude. Maybe -5C. I would say the hardest part (physically at least) is the foundation (to mix all that concrete by hand).

You can give it a try, if you do not like it, you can always tear it apart (and probably reuse some of the material).

Mezzie

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
    • Mezzie Learns
Re: low stone wall
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2017, 07:37:53 AM »
I've been thinking about this since the slope of our yard is annoying. I'm here to read any suggestions.
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/preparing-for-forced-early-retirement-due-to-disability/

Join my ibotta team for rebates: https://ibotta.com/r/bdtnbyj

Join my Shopkick team so we can start a Vespa gang (or you can get more practical gift cards...if you think those are better than a Vespa for some reason): https://app.shopkick.com/r/3eNYBE

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
Re: low stone wall
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2017, 10:51:13 AM »
A couple of years ago, I was looking into something like this to reflect traffic noise and reduce the amount of trash thrown/blown into our yard.  Do call your municipal building dept to see if you need to pull a permit.