Questions And Answers On Retaining Walls Materials

Mark asks…

I need a inexpensive but nice retaining wall, any ideas?

I need retaining walls and terracing done, it is a lot of wall so I need to keep the price down. Any ideas on a retaining wall material that is inexpensive but pleasing to the eye.

Home Gardener answers:

Plant Pompass grass. It’s easily maintained and it has sharp blades that deters invasive people and animals. It’s nice to look at because it grows tall white feathery plooms out of the top. Mine are spaced about 10 feet apart and are now about 6ft by 6ft bushes. If you have to have a “wall” but are low on cash I’d put up a chain link fence and grow a climbing vine all over it.

Paul asks…

How to build a vertical retaining wall?

OK, so this is more of a fish pond question than a retaining wall to hold up a steep hill. but I guess the same applies. I want to build an above ground goldfish pond in front of the house. The area I want to use is between our porch and sidewalk. First I have to pull out the bushes to make room, but that’s another story. Anyway, I want to use 4×4 or 4×6, or the retaining wall material that is flat on top and bottom, but curved on the sides. its going to be a vertical wall approx 2 feet tall. and the length that will be holding back pressure is 10 feet long. It will have to hold back 600 gallons of water. I’m planning on putting rebar through the pieces of wood, and I think I’m going to have to drill the holes before I even put the wood in place. So basically it will be the bottom layer of wood, drill holes, drive the rebar down into the ground, and leave the 2 feet exposed, make my measurements, drill, and place my next piece of wood on top, threading the rebar through. Two of my biggest questions, what size rebar is strong enough without going too thick, and should I drill the hole one size bigger, and fill it in with cement/mortar, or sand as I go along? Also, how deep into the ground should I drive the rebar? I’m thinking 4 foot rebar would be sufficient, since its only going to be 2 feet high, and the other two feet would be underground. Am I even planning this out the right way? I don’t want it to collapse when I go to add the water. I know most of the other stuff about what liner to use, and all that. This question is mainly for building the outer box itself. (10Lx4Wx2D)

Home Gardener answers:

Doug seemed to cover it pretty well , i would add that i would use number 5 rebar(5/8ths in.) and drill it maybe a 1/16th big and use an epoxy to firm the fit…if you dont mind the beating you could drill it 5/8ths and hammer the 4 bys on but that seems like a lot of work…

Elizabeth asks…

who’s responsibility is to repair or replace the retaining wall in a house? Is it both neighbors?

I would like to know who is legaly responsible for maintence of a retaing wall that is holding up my neighbors property. My neighbor does not want to help pay for 50% of the retaining wall since it is in our property. I have tryed speaking with them but they are not willing to spend any money since they said its not their responcibility. That we need to pay completely on our own althought they would benifit from us replacing the retaining wall to something more sturdy. The material currently there is some pressure treated woold that is ready to collaps. Please help…

Home Gardener answers:

I recently had this situation at the house I was renting. There are good-neighbor fences with retaining walls there. The retaining wall and fence to the right side of the house collapsed during the rainy season. The neighbor was responsible for the retaining wall and my landlord was responsible for the actual fence. On the left side of the house, it would be the opposite, the landlord would pay for a retaining wall and the neighbor on the other side would pay for the fence.

If you have a good-neighbor fence with a retaining wall as I described above, your neighbor is legally responsible for 50% of the cost. If it is just a retaining wall shared with you and your neighbor, they should still pay 50% toward the overall cost. If it collapses and causes damage to your property, you could legally sue them for damages. It’s in their best interest to conform and pay half the cost.

Shelley asks…

Raised flower bed?

I haven’t a sufficient amount of soil or dirt before it hits concrete so I wanted to do a raised flower bed. I have no clue what I’m doing. Do I need to lay out rocks along the bottom, or is it fine to put the soil on the ground? Any suggestions for a retaining wall? Materials? Any input would be alot of help & appreciated.
There is about 10 inches before it hits solid concrete. I’ve decided concrete blocks would look nice & be a safer bet than chemical treated wood

Home Gardener answers:

If I am reading your question correctly, you have some soil on top of old concrete. You would be fine to place the new soil on top of the existing dirt. I would till it or at the least, remove any sod before you add the soil. As far as material, I used landscape concrete retaining wall blocks to build mine. Should you ever decide to use your planting bed for some vegetables, there would be no issues with any chemical leaching from the treated timbers. The block also give you a nice ledge to sit on while tilling your soil.

E-mail me if you would be interested in some photos.

Joseph asks…

I have circle 8ft across want to build a retaining wall how do i find out how much material i will need?

Home Gardener answers:

Circumference = 2 x pi x radius. Using 8′ as the diameter, that gives 4′ as the radius.

2 x 3.14159 x 4 = 25.13 feet. Divide that by the size of the material you are using and you are set. Hope this helps.

Alana asks…

Hi I was recommended by a contractor to build a retaining wall made out of FTPO, does somone know what this is

He mentioned via the phone something like FTPO or FTOP I can’t recall correctly. It’s supposed to be some sort of building material I guess? I can’t contact him back to ask him specifically.

Please help.

Home Gardener answers:

It appears to be an artificial and light aggregate which would
be used in lieu of gravel, the more common aggregate, to
make concrete.

The following was obtained from this URL:

Responding to current concerns regarding environmental protection, improved working conditions, energy onservation, and reduced transportation costs, Paris-based Agrégats Artificiels S.A. Has developed new artificial aggregates that produce lighter concrete. The objective in developing a synthetic product is to reduce the weight of foundations and increase the thermal insulation of the building shell.

Agrégats Artificiels S.A. Is seeking industrial partners in both
Canada and the United States for the production and marketing of its product — FTPO, One East Wacker Drive, Suite 3740, Chicago, Ill. 60601; Fax: (312) 222-1237.

I hope this helps.

Wayne asks…

Building a Retaining wall advice needed..?

I am building a conservatory and, although the site is level,there is a 670mm height difference between the ground and the damproof course of the house.
I wish to build a retaining wall (cavity wall of external leaf Bricks,Internal leaf of blockwork)floor level will be at dpc height

The site size is 4.1m wide x 2.8m projection from the house.

My question is will the wall withstand the pressure of the aggregate (8 tonnes) being the infilled material?

What depth and type of wall would be required or what other ways could I use to approach this problem.

solid chalk subsoil

Home Gardener answers:

Firstly, make sure you cast a decent foundation approx 300mm wider each side of the wall x approx 150mm thk.

Place some visqeen (heavy duty plastic) in between the soil & wall,(stops damp penetrating).

I would build a 225mm(1 Brick or 1 block laid flat) retainer wall first, your cavity with tie wires & then your 110mm facing wall.

Good luck.

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