Sloping soil - process of leveling and need help with wood retaining wall


Good afternoon! Hi, I'm new here. Great site! We are in the process of adding lots of dirt to level our 32'x26' backyard. It has taken months to get the dirt ready for seeding (new construction had left all kinds of trash in soil).
My next problem is that my lot angles from 6" to 2' sloped on one side of my neighbor. There is a fence which is supporting the dirt, but I want to reinforce on my side. I was thinking of digging in and putting 2x10s the length of the fence and filling the dirt back.
Any suggestions? PS...its a condo, so I am limited in what I can do ie using cement or some more permanent fixes without board approval.... Thanks! Chris
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You should dig all the dirt that's piled up by the fence because the moisture will rot the wood. THEN install the retaining boards (pressure treated) next to the fence. I've got 120' of fence that's constructed with 2x12's next to it to retain the dirt which is higher on my property than the neighbors. It's been holding up well for more than 13 years. The previous fences didn't last but a few years w/o PT wood and retainer.
Meatball wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks David, Just the answer I was looking for and from someone who has done this! I plan on using PT wood... Couple of other questions: How deep did you dig ie is each 2x12 buried to the surface? I'm thinking burying and leaving a couple of inches exposed Anything else done to the wood...or just use back fill and fence to hold in place? Since I have a grading going from 6 to 24, should I use 2x12 by 8 feet long? Did you connect boards? Thanks for your quick response.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This was one project that I didn't do myself. The boards were attached to the fence posts. If you have to retain more than about a foot of dirt, you'll want to provide additional support for the retaining boards, I'd think. The boards are exposed about 1-2 inches. If you face the boards with a couple of layers of heavy plastic, the moisture load on them will be less until the plastic rots away, which it will do in a few years. I did that on a short retaining wall, but I didn't use PT on THAT project and the boards eventually had to be replaced due to termite damage encouraged by the moisture in the wood. PT should last over 10 years, easily.
The boards the fence co. installed were just butted together. The boards haven't shrink much in length, so I wouldn't worry to much about that aspect of the installation.
Dave
Meatball wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
While you are at it, make sure the Condo Rules will let you do this. Some are pretty sticky concerning "yard work" and what is really allowable.
--
PDQ --
| This was one project that I didn't do myself. The boards were attached | to the fence posts. If you have to retain more than about a foot of | dirt, you'll want to provide additional support for the retaining | boards, I'd think. The boards are exposed about 1-2 inches. If you | face the boards with a couple of layers of heavy plastic, the moisture | load on them will be less until the plastic rots away, which it will do | in a few years. I did that on a short retaining wall, but I didn't use | PT on THAT project and the boards eventually had to be replaced due to | termite damage encouraged by the moisture in the wood. PT should last | over 10 years, easily. | | The boards the fence co. installed were just butted together. The | boards haven't shrink much in length, so I wouldn't worry to much about | that aspect of the installation. | | Dave | | Meatball wrote: | | > Thanks David, | > Just the answer I was looking for and from someone who has done this! | > I plan on using PT wood... | > Couple of other questions: | > How deep did you dig ie is each 2x12 buried to the surface? | > I'm thinking burying and leaving a couple of inches exposed | > Anything else done to the wood...or just use back fill and fence to | > hold in place? | > Since I have a grading going from 6 to 24, should I use 2x12 by 8 feet | > long? | > Did you connect boards? | > Thanks for your quick response. | >
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
David - thanks.
PDQ - actually, part of my need for posting is that we have a condo meeting this weekend, and I want to tell them what I am doing. I was initially going to work with my neighbor (they are not a condo), but that is just not feasable. I am hoping that digging and placing pt wood next to the fence will be approved. (assuming wood pieces could easily be removed). I thought about railroad ties, but that was not ok with the condo.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
As long as the Condo is happy, you have some good advice with which to work. Good luck.
--
PDQ --
| David - thanks. | | PDQ - actually, part of my need for posting is that we have a condo | meeting this weekend, and I want to tell them what I am doing. | I was initially going to work with my neighbor (they are not a condo), | but that is just not feasable. | I am hoping that digging and placing pt wood next to the fence will be | approved. (assuming wood pieces could easily be removed). | I thought about railroad ties, but that was not ok with the condo. |
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Meatball wrote:

My question would be why is it this way to begin with and wasn't corrected when the condo built? Seems to me like it would have been builder's responsibility to leave grade at appropriate level...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Meatball wrote:

Chris:
Find out the depth to which your ground freezes -- if at all. Ignore this if your ground never freezes -- unless it is very wet.
Are you in a northern climate? Do you get freezing? If so I would recommend some "backfill" as in crushed rock etc for drainage - otherwise you get freeze-thaw cycles which heave anything placed in the ground.
Typically here north of Lake Ontario we dig below frost level for cement structures -- don't know requirements for wood structures -- then put in 6 inches of crushed rock.
The plastic someone mentioned can be a good idea...
Dig out, Put plastic in against earth, fill in some crushed rock, put it PT wood, add more crushed rock around wood.... Try to make sure you have some drainage for the water as well...
I think you are in NJ based on your comcast posting address - that's why I mentioned it.
A good home supply, rock supply or reno-building supply should be able to clue you in to the local building code or local common sense requirements.
Placing the 2X10's on crushed rock and backfilling should extend the life of the boards as well.
This wasn't done at our current place and the PT wood used for the rock garden and terracing -- placed by previous owner of less than 5 years -- had started to decompose. We dug it up after two years here...
--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Not to put a damper on the party but did you happen to notice that this is the rec.woodworking group ? May want to try alt.home.repair or some other group next time for questions like this.
I'm sure you got some good answers here though - now if they only had something to do with woodworking... But with the way this ng has been headed lately it appears to be turning into - rec.askanythingyouwant anyway. Just thought I'd toss that out to see who bites...
Bob S.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
BobS wrote:

CHOMP!
Hey! It was more on topic than a lot of the recent c**p. It had the word "wood" all through the posts eh -- even if it was that PT crud!!
LOL

--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks to all who replied. BobS...the reason I asked hear was more for direction on working with wood to solve a landscaping problem. Having taken shop classes in HS, I do recognize the distinction, but felt there might be someone on here who uses wood to solve most problems. The other sites only talk about using cement, stones, or othe pre fab type installations, which are not an option. I will use wood, hence it will be a wood working project...in my mind.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Meatball wrote:

I'm still curious as to why there's a ledge on your side wrt to the other side of the fence, anyway. My first inclination would be to simply grade it to level even if there's some slope.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A picture would be worth a 1000 words....basically, 2 family units burned down in a row of attached brownstones. So, contractors built 2 units and joined them. The backyard was made into one even area, which created a gap against the neighbors fence. I was able to measure both sides and that is how I discovered the lean. My wife is concerned that when the wood fence finally gives, it will collapse into the neigbors side, and potentially mess up their deck. I am surprised the neigbors or inspectors didnt say anything...unless it had been done years ago. The only way I noticed is that when I was prepping for seed, parts collapsed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.