View Full Version : Retaining walls, or my aching back

Jim Dunn
08-14-2005, 10:01 PM
That's outa stone.:rolleyes: I promised my wife I'd build her a shed. Ordered the plans from Norm and sat on them for about a year. Well it was her birthday Friday and look what I did Sat. and Sun.

Been dryer that a popcorn dust bowl here for the last 2 months. Well Saturday night we got an inch of rain. Now I'm up to my knees in sandy/clayish mud. Had a bobcat with a set of forks that could of placed the blocks on Sunday, but we had to man handle them instead. Lucky for me I've got 2 sons who love their mom:p

Will post updates as the ground work progresses.

Jeff Sudmeier
08-15-2005, 9:50 AM
Boy ohh boy, you had all of the toys out this weekend!... From what I can see, the walls are looking great.

Jim Dunn
08-15-2005, 4:04 PM
They should tell you, when you rent one of these mini-excavators, that they come with a rain maker.:eek: No rain here for the past 5 weeks, if fact we are in the middle of a drought, and we have had 2 1/2" of rain since I dug out for the walls saturday.:mad:

Those big rocks are actually chunks of dirt that the bobcat couldn't crush under its wheels. After the rain saturday nite they fell apart just by stepping on them.

Jim Dunn
08-18-2005, 8:42 AM
Well it's thursday and it's raining again. Had just barely dried up enough to venture around the area! Course the blocks weight twice as much when your carrying around 40lbs of mud on your boots.:(

Ken Fitzgerald
08-18-2005, 9:04 AM
Jim....you know, of course, that Murphy's laws are in full effect whenever you're doing something important......"If something can happen at the most inoportune time...it will!" hence the rain! :(

Jim Dunn
08-18-2005, 9:06 AM
I just keep remembering that Mother Nature is a woman. Well it's a birthday present for my wife and she'll have another next year.

Scott Parks
08-20-2005, 3:24 PM
Jim, looking good. I'll probably be tackling a retaining wall job like that soon at my new house (gotta make room for a deck and hot tub). With my luck, it'll probably rain, too. About 5 years ago, I poured a concrete patio for our hot tub. No rain for two months, and it started raining cats and dogs within one minute of the concrete truck showing up. Must have rained 2 inches over that 24 hour period:mad:. It was a good thing that the hot tub covered most of the damage...

Stay dry...

Jim Dunn
08-20-2005, 9:53 PM
Well I got about 25 of the blocks set today! Course it's very slow going as I have to dig the base footing by hand first. Also on checking grades I've found about a foot difference from what I'd wanted.

I'll post pics tomorrow. If it don't rain.


Ken Fitzgerald
08-20-2005, 10:41 PM
Jim.....getting that first course is important! 5 years ago I put 3 raised beds in our backyard using 225 of the large blocks and 120 of the small ones. 5 years later it's still level and holding back the dirt and shrubs we planted for a privacy fence. Take your time and get that first course right...the others will go rapidly!

Jim Dunn
08-21-2005, 6:25 PM
Promised update. First no rain:D :D Second NO HELP!!!:mad: Son #2 tore a nail off his toe.:o Son #1 is busy cleaning up from a birthday party for his/our daughter/grand-daughter:(. Third I've come the time to put drain pipe and geo paper behind what I've got done.

There's always next weekend for the "Boy's" if I'm still putting up block by then.:eek:

Jim Dunn
08-22-2005, 9:34 PM
Ken must of missed your reply yesterday. And your right the first course is the most important. Also the most difficult to install. I'm still waiting on my son's #1 and #2 to come thru with the promissed help. I'll be happy with the help of lifting those blocks up on the taller courses.

Lee Schierer
08-23-2005, 9:23 AM
If you haven't already planned on doing it, get some landscape cloth and place it behind the blocks next to the dirt. Then back fill the blocks with stone, crushed limestone works best. This will keep the water from helping the dirt push your wall out of place and will keep dirt from seeping out through the blocks. Good drainage is important for retaining walls to stay in place.

Jim Dunn
08-24-2005, 8:28 PM
Lee, I put the pipe behind the wall last nite. I laid up a row of blocks first so as to tie them all together. I've also glued each block to it's lower row. Paper will go up tomorrow nite, then rock this weekend, if it don't rain. More pics to follow.

Steve Clardy
08-24-2005, 9:42 PM
Just keep at it Jim. We need the rain.

Jim Dunn
08-24-2005, 10:03 PM
Thanks Steve. With rain I get to rest my back. I do think I messed up a disc I had operated on this past March. Maybe they can go back in thru the same hole and fix it?

Steve Clardy
08-25-2005, 11:17 AM
Sorry to hear about your back. Get trested up.
Whatever yer doing, it's working. Had two inches rain last night, and it's raining now.

So--where is Pacific MO.?

Jim Dunn
08-25-2005, 5:32 PM
Just west of St. Louis out I44. And it rained all day here too. Haven't measured it yet but we got a bunch. Looks like I'm off wall duty for a few days:)

Well 6:00 and still raining:( Hope what I've gotten done so far fairs well in all the wet weather:rolleyes:

Steve Clardy
08-25-2005, 7:20 PM
Ok. We'll have to meet up sometime. I and a bunch of us went to the Collinsville Woodworking show in February. Had breakfast, dinner, spent too much moola on tools, etc. There will be another next year.

Jim Dunn
08-25-2005, 7:22 PM
I too went to the Collinsville show. A friend spent $3500.00 and scared me to death.
I thought his wife would blame me as a bad influence. My back was in need of surgery at that time and I "wus on drugs" for pain. Don't remember how much I spent but it was less than $50.00.

I'll look for your PM when the show comes up again.


Steve Clardy
08-25-2005, 7:26 PM
Ok. I'll try to remember to let you know.
I didn't spend nothing terrific like the 3500.00, but I spent enough. LOl

Jim Dunn
08-26-2005, 8:08 PM
Steve we got another 2" of rain today. I plan on launching my boat in the back yard and go fishing like Dennis did.

Steve Clardy
08-26-2005, 8:17 PM
Lol. :D :D

We go from drought to flood in two weeks.:eek: Crazy weather here in MO.:eek:

At least it's raining though.:)
Downside. Back to mowing again with $2.59 gas.:rolleyes:

Jim Dunn
08-26-2005, 8:44 PM
Gas is $3.00 on the dock and it's time to start bass tournaments next month. Hope I at least break even.

Jim Dunn
08-30-2005, 8:31 AM
Getting closer to the finished product. Then the fun part concrete pad and a new "garden" shed.

Jim Dunn
09-02-2005, 8:47 PM
First let me say that we are praying here for those people affected by the hurricane.

That said I have added a few feet of blocks since the last post:). Got a "little" help from both my son's:eek:. My wife, neighbor and her dog all helped me today with moral support:D. Gonna try to get enough done Sat. so as I can call in the bobcat and generally grade the area out.

Oh and by the way does anybody know how to build stairs out of blocks:confused:. I need to have the rise and run figured out before I start the base for said stairs.

Thanks for looking.


Joe Mioux
09-02-2005, 10:06 PM

YOu really have taken on an ambitious project. The "Great Wall of Pacific" is looking great;) .

Jim Dunn
09-02-2005, 10:24 PM
Thanks Joe. I am a self taught block layer;). The design is my wife's, she and a can of marking paint can make anything possible:eek::eek: so she says. If not for our business of delivering large concrete tanks, the delivery of the blocks would have made the project cheaper to of had it done:o As it is we're saving about $1700.00 on the wall. All of it is going into finish grading and the garden shed. Haven't priced out the material for the shed and concrete floor as yet but I expect to spend about $5,000.00 on both of those projects together. I hope:D

Jim Dunn
09-06-2005, 6:24 PM
Well I should, make that have to, finish up the wall tomorrow night.:rolleyes: I've got to cause it's getting backfilled Thursday. Still need to build a set of steps but that will come later. Figured the blocks a little too close. I'm short about 25 altogether. Course as always I've decided to make it bigger both in length and height.:p Another problem is the geotech material that keeps the wall from leaning. Looks like chicken wire fence but is made of rubber and has a fiber inner core. It should really be buried 12", 2 blocks, deep so as to allow planting over the top of it.

Had offer's/requests to build walls for most of my neighbors. I declined, but offered my help in delivering and design layout. That last part is LOML's job:eek:

Jim Dunn
09-09-2005, 8:34 AM
Supposed to backfill and finish grade for the shed today. The contractor stiffed me on thursday.:mad: Then it's on to the shed pad and steps to access the area easier.:o

Anybody got any ideas on keeping moisture out of the building?:confused: Rust is what I'm afraid of, as it's for my LOML gardening "tools". I'm not going to have electric;) (the wink is for the inspector) or insulation. Thought about solar heating? Maybe skylites with solar panels and fans? Or some cat litter spread on the floor?:eek: Thanks for looking and I'll post some more pics when I get the building started.