Retaining wall

Hello Group,
Here is the situation. We have a flat backyard which is small, which slopes HUGE hill. We want to build out the flat area as much as possible, at the same time putting up a fence to protect our young children.
Local building codes say that homeowners can build retaining walls 3 feet tall without permit. I have read that pressure treated lumber retaining walls are not recommended because they only last 10 to 15 years. Personally if it lasted that long, that is acceptable.
I bought the house I grew up in actually! My question to the group is this. I need a 36" retaining wall, and a 4 foot picket fence. What I want to do is to put in my posts, and use those posts for the retaining wall, a small ground clearance, then from the flat ground use the same posts for my four foot picket fence. Is there a problem with this?
Thanks for reading my post, ~Karl
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Yes. Your crazy.
Just kidding. But your idea really is. The weight of dirt in 3' would snap off your picket fence posts like nothing, and your wall will end up on top of your kids, along with a few hundred tons of dirt.
Pressure treated is okay -- it does rot eventually, and is not exactly cheap either, but can be simple to work with. BUT, it really sounds like you need to do some reading. Look on google -- there are plenty of sites detailing how to build a retaining wall, including how to deal with: water and drainage, footings, deadmen/tiebacks, setbacks, acceptable height, frost and snow, and so on. Come back and ask again after you have read up a bit.
(I also can't for the life of me figure out why you think you need a picket fence in front of a wall anyway.)
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To keep the kids from going over the wall and the 3' drop. Fence is on top of the wall.
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Ah, right. I was picturing the hill sloping _up_ from the house, not down. Previous post still stands, although the wall won't be falling _on_ the kids, but out from under them, and there is less dirt to hold back too.
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How steep is the slop, exactly? I'm assuming that the slope is down, away from the house.
What I'd do is terrace: build a 3' retaining wall, and then move as far away from that as the slope allows, and build another one. Unless your town requires it, I'd skip the fence entirely. A 3' drop-off is a learning experience, not a health hazard. (well, unless the childer are 3 or younger.) Use the lower terrace for your vegetable garden.
Build the walls out of rock.
--Goedjn
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Yea my kids are 7 months and 2 years. The backyard is flat away from the house, and then slopes down. The hill part of our yard is huge, and the flat (let the kiddies run free) part is small. Putting in the 3 foot tall retaining wall with the fence on top would have extended my backyard by five feet. A five foot adition to a medium sized backyard is nothing to shake a stick at.
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Just tonight I saw a house in my neighborhood with exactly what I was talking about. They have a retaining wall made up 10' wide pressure treated boards, stacked 3 high. Post spacing that apears to be at 3 foot increments, and every other post is taller to accomodate the fence. It this wrong? My main concern was for instance if someone was leaning on the fence it would have a tremedous force being that the posts are so long.
Thanks for all of your input.
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