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
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
Thanks for reading my post,
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.)
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
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.
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.
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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