years ago, in the '30's one of my aunts had a lot down from a gravel
road that went VERY STEEPLY down to a creek. this was in Missouri near
ST Louis and the property sprouted rocks like the garden sprouts
radishes. each rain brought more up. she patiently gathered them each
day as weather and time permited and built a rock, morterless wall
about 2 feet wide at the top across the front of the property to
protect it from water from the road, then down the north side going
down the very step hill. i loved it.. have loved it in my memories for
years but when i visited the place in about 1984 new owners, had torn
it all down saying that it had become rat infested.. i think i would
have done something about the rats.. not the wall! it had been there
about 40 years with no breaks.
firstname.lastname@example.org (sams) wrote in message
On 11 Nov 2003 15:58:41 -0800, email@example.com (Lee) wrote:
For the rats, you need a couple of Patterdale Terriers! tiny dogs, as
hard as a baseball, and devoted to rooting out and murdering vermin.
POISON FREE rat control..However, i have a feeling the disposessed
rats will find somewhere else, having lived in Boston, a city famous
for waterfront rats larger than a medium sized cat.
I LOVE the story about your AUNT!
my husband is from MO.
curious..wondering if the wall could have been sort of "caulked" with
cement? perhaps holes/spaces daubed in with mud then cement...??? it
would be cruel to the vermin in the wall, but they couldn't spread out
in the neighborhood. :<
or introduce a few king snakes??? oh welllllll...too late now!!!
Are you using existing rocks from your yard or are you purchasing stone? A
dry laid stone wall is much much harder to do than you think, especially if
it is your first one. Whatever stone you have, you need to lay them out on
the ground and "sort" them. Think of it as a giant 3-D jigsaw puzzle. The
yard will look like a disaster zone before you lay your first rock.
Depending on the type of stone you use, you will need more than is actually
in the wall because some of the stones just don't fit anywhere. This is
assuming you are trying to get a tighter fit with somewhat flat faces, as
opposed to a farmer's rubble wall.
Using some of your old large plastic garden pots, throw the useless or
smaller rocks into them. At certain points when building your wall, you'll
need filler in the middle. Just grab a bucket full of these rocks and pour
it in and work them into any larger voids.
The wall should be at least as wide (at the base) as it is tall. As far as
tools, a rock hammer, handheld sledge and a cold chisel (don't forget the
safety glasses) and lots of gloves (you'll wear them out real fast). You'll
eventually figure out where the seams in a granite rock are.
Here's one safety tip I learned the hard way... you see the perfect rock but
it's toward the bottom of the pile or wedged in with some other rocks. DON'T
try to just pull it out and save time. Spend the extra minute to take the
other rocks away from it. One small slip and you'll have a smashed finger or
hand and you won't be working on your wall for a while.
Rapid Realm Technology, Inc.
Hopkinton, MA (Zone 6a)
If you are planning a RETAINING wall (as you said), think very
carefully. This is a wall to keep the slope from failing, from
sliding down. You will need deep footings, and it will have to be
anchored into the slope. This is the kind of wall that often uses
hollow blocks treaded on steal bars imbedded into the foundation.
After the blocks are stacked, the hollows are filled with
If you are planning a slough wall, however, the advice in other
replies is quite good. A slough wall prevents slough (of course),
which is the trickling down of loose soil and surface erosion.
If you want to build a wall adjacent to a slope and then fill in
behind the wall to create a terrace, you will need something
between a retaining wall and a slough wall. Wet soil on a slope
can create significant pressure against whatever is holding it in
place. Such a wall needs to be reinforced. However, if the fill
behind it does not extend higher than the top of the wall, you
might not need to anchor the wall into the slope. Such a wall
should slant towards the slope and not be vertical.
David, i am the poster who told of the aunt who build the rock wall
and it is a fact. and you are right about building retaining walls
like you say; it has a lot to do with the terrain and the reason for
building it. the wall aunt ethyl built, for all its stability would
not have held up with the mudslides like in California. even deeply
founded walls could not have stood up to that. here in texas a large
wall really needs a good footing if it's being build to hold a slough
and a good rock base to keep the black clay from tearing it apart from
expansion and contraction and needs to be build with a very wide base
and leaning toward the bank it is holding. but a low wall in a small
garden not in the middle of a slough will usually do fairly well here.
best regards, lee h
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