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Good effort, lot of graft in that digging! Are you just using what you've dug out to backfill behind the retaining wall or have you got to put something permeable at the bottom for drainage?
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Good effort, lot of graft in that digging! Are you just using what you've dug out to backfill behind the retaining wall or have you got to put something permeable at the bottom for drainage?
I'm just using what I've already dug out to backfill, and the rest will have to get carted off in a skip. I'm not looking forward to that because the only way to get it to the skip is in buckets down the stairs at the side of the house.

I should really have put drainage holes in the bottom of the wall, but the reason I need to do this in the first place is because my house is on the side of a hill - that means that my garden is at least 30m above the ground water table and all the ground I have excavated so far is really free draining sand so I think I'll get away with it. Even in the heaviest downpours, the lawn never gets waterlogged which gives me confidence it'll be OK, drainage wise.
 

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I'm just using what I've already dug out to backfill, and the rest will have to get carted off in a skip. I'm not looking forward to that because the only way to get it to the skip is in buckets down the stairs at the side of the house.

I should really have put drainage holes in the bottom of the wall, but the reason I need to do this in the first place is because my house is on the side of a hill - that means that my garden is at least 30m above the ground water table and all the ground I have excavated so far is really free draining sand so I think I'll get away with it. Even in the heaviest downpours, the lawn never gets waterlogged which gives me confidence it'll be OK, drainage wise.
You're lucky! We have clay soil which drains horribly. I plan to do some terracing in our garden but even on a much smaller scale than you and am going to have to do something for drainage.

Hopefully you can reuse the majority of the soil and save work on carting it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
A small update...

I'm away for a few days in my caravan but I wanted to get all the noisy part of the work done, because I haven't got long after work to use the circular saw without disturbing the neighbours.

Anyway, I got the wall almost finished but I've run out of screws and sleepers so it seemed like a good place to stop for now.
294584


So then I set about clearing out all the unwanted plants on the top part. This is going to be pretty much plant free and just covered in slate chippings or something like that.

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And that's you up to date. There won't be any more progress for at least a week now, and that will mostly just be backfilling behind the wall. But I'm going to order more sleepers and screws and get back on it as soon as I can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
How are you goofing to get up onto that section when finished.
I'm hardly ever going to need to get up there so I'll just use a ladder when I do. It's not usable space so a there'll be a layer of weed suppression and a layer of chippings to make it look nice and that's it. Maybe a couple of plants too but they'll be low maintenance ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Okay, backache enthusiasts, here's another instalment.
It's been a while because I've been away for a week and then I had covid. I'm OK now but it slowed me down a fair bit.
I've put the sleepers in for the side wall. It'll be higher than this but for now it lets me get the level for the finished lawn which you can see in the other pics.







The soil heap is a lot smaller now too - it's all gone to backfilling behind the wall.



The wall itself will be another 8 inches taller so I'm confident now that pretty much all of the soil will go behind it, or be used to level the lawn which means I don't need a skip or to carry it all down the stairs.

 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Time for another update, but this one's not all good...

I finished the rear wall and got one of the side ones built. The lawn area is nearly level too so that's all groovy.



But here's the not so good part. The rear wall is leaning over. The posts behind the wall are 100mmx100mm and they're concreted in to the ground to a depth of 1m. I think the problem is that the ground is such soft sand that it's not stable enough to hold them in place. I was a bit worried this might happen tbh but now it means that the sleepers need to come back off the wall so I can implement plan B.

 

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Sorry to read your problems with the leaning wall. Personally I would be concerned that the leaning is to do with the thickness of the timber as opposed to the foundations being insufficient. What is plan B?

I have seen sleeper walls similar to this using steel UBs / UCs as opposed to the timber posts. Could you put these in 300mm from the front of the existing wall, and then remove and slot into place the sleepers (carefully) from the bottom up?

Good luck - I hate it when things like this happen. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Sorry to read your problems with the leaning wall. Personally I would be concerned that the leaning is to do with the thickness of the timber as opposed to the foundations being insufficient. What is plan B?

I have seen sleeper walls similar to this using steel UBs / UCs as opposed to the timber posts. Could you put these in 300mm from the front of the existing wall, and then remove and slot into place the sleepers (carefully) from the bottom up?

Good luck - I hate it when things like this happen. :(
I think the timber sizes are OK - the posts are 100x100mm and the sleepers are 200x100. The problem was caused by a combination of the sandy ground and inadequate foundations. Totally my fault - I thought I'd get away with it but it didn't work out.

I've seen the steel UC type walls too. I did want to build it like that but it was just too expensive for my budget.

Anyway, on to plan B:

I started by taking the sleepers off and numbering them all so they'd go back in the same places



Then I took all the posts out and dug out the postcrete that I'd used on them.



A couple of the posts were slightly misaligned too so I took the opportunity to correct that.
Originally, I'd used a 150mm auger to dig the holes 1m deep and used a bag of postcrete on each one. This time I dug a much bigger hole, still 1m deep and filled it with hand mixed concrete. Each one took 4no 20kg bags of aggregate, 2 of sand and a bag of cement.



To help restrain it even more, it's also tied back to the concrete fence posts on either side of the garden

Next, I rebuilt it all which was a fairly quick process



And then used more sleepers to box in around the steps. This was all open before so the steps constantly had soil falling on them.



And for good measure, I stuck a few solar lights in there too. Blurred photo because I was trying to take a pic in the dark with the flash turned off



So now all that remains is to level the lawn area and get some turf laid before it's too late in the year. I finish work at 2pm on Fridays so I'll order some to be delivered Friday morning and get it done that afternoon.
 

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Nice bit of work there so far. Love a good bit of garden engineering and glad you managed to get the back wall sorted. Enjoyed the thread so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Nice bit of work there so far. Love a good bit of garden engineering and glad you managed to get the back wall sorted. Enjoyed the thread so far.
Thank you :)


I finished! Well, there's a bit of tidying up to do and the side planters just need finishing off but the lawn is down anyway.

I used my laser to make sure it was all level and flush with the top of the brick wall:


Then lugged all the turf up the steps and plopped it into place. I've never turfed before but it was simple enough to do.


And I had a load of turf left over so I gave it away on Facebook marketplace.


So that's it, done.

I threw myself into this project to serve as a distraction because in early June I had to say goodbye to my beautiful greyhound Bella. I was absolutely heartbroken, and then 6 weeks later I very suddenly lost my special boy Henry. Henry and I had a really close bond and it was literally a choice between sitting and crying, or digging a great big hole in my garden.

Here's Henry and Bella.

 

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Thank you :)


I finished! Well, there's a bit of tidying up to do and the side planters just need finishing off but the lawn is down anyway.

I used my laser to make sure it was all level and flush with the top of the brick wall:


Then lugged all the turf up the steps and plopped it into place. I've never turfed before but it was simple enough to do.


And I had a load of turf left over so I gave it away on Facebook marketplace.


So that's it, done.

I threw myself into this project to serve as a distraction because in early June I had to say goodbye to my beautiful greyhound Bella. I was absolutely heartbroken, and then 6 weeks later I very suddenly lost my special boy Henry. Henry and I had a really close bond and it was literally a choice between sitting and crying, or digging a great big hole in my garden.

Here's Henry and Bella.

Good work on the lawn dude. (y)

My condolences on the loss of your dogs mate. * hug *
 

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Looks great, well done.

My condolences for Henry and Bella. My dog is poorly at the moment and I am a bit of a mess about it.
 

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Garden looks great! So much more useable than it was before.
Really sorry about your doggos - they are such a big part of the family 💔
 
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