June 16, 2012 by Sarah
1 month after we first broke ground, the retaining wall is officially complete! Thank gawd.
This is what we had before…
A 3 day project turned into a 3 week project but I’m so thrilled its complete that I don’t even care. With the help of multiple family members, particularly my dad who drove up 4 seperate times to help work on it, we were able to tear out the old, leaning wall and replace it with a much more sturdy system.
I ended up going with straight faced Chilton retaining wall blocks from Menards made by Midwest Manufacturing. They are MASSIVE blocks, 8in high x 18 in wide x 12in deep and they weigh 75lbs each. This particular line has special corner blocks with 2 rough edges that made the installation easier. The corner blocks were great because it not only looks nice, but it meant that we didn’t need to cut a bunch of blocks in half. However, there was one problem with them–Unbeknownst to me, they were special order blocks requiring 2 weeks for shipment. Because I had planned on picking the block up the same day of purchase with my Dad’s truck, this through a wrench in our plans. The first Saturday, Adrian and I tore out most of the old retaining wall block and excuvated the required min of 24 in.
The next day a crew of family arrived and we picked up the block from Menards, dropped off the old blocks to be recycled into class V fill, started the base of the wall, and cleaned up the massive amounts of dirt. I think it was about 100 wheelbarrows full. We did as much as we could without the corner blocks, but that wasn’t much. We ended up throwing a couple tarps over everything that night and it stayed that way for about 2 weeks before the corner blocks came in.
We probably worked a total of 2 full days after that to finish it off.
We followed the directions given by the manufacturer almost completely. I also found information from This Old House and Family Handyman to be extremely beneficial in planning and execution. It’s not perfect, but damn near. We are very pleased with the results. To finish it off my dad is going to look into having someone build us some new and more study handrails. The current ones have been busted for, oh i dont know, approximately forever. Our mailman will be pleased by this.
Feels good to check another thing off the list. The front yard is in dire need of some plantings. I have a plan for that, but it will have to wait for another post.