Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

Day 3

Posted by joeabbott on March 23, 2011

P3220006Today I put in a retaining wall border around a bench I made last year for the backyard. Time and chickens have eroded the area around it and without something holding back the gravel, I feel the whole area would slide away. Additionally, Suzy put some plantings in and around this space and we needed to shore them up.

I started the day a bit lazily … just tired and sore. I felt like I was working in slo-mo all day but the work went together quickly so that compensated for the slacking I was doing.

I roughly dragged the line of where I’d put the retaining wall with a big trenching tool we have … just to break up the sod. I then found a hoe actually gave me a good, flat area to work from.

WP_000099I started at the lowest point (the front) and established the first tier. After getting a nice level area, I didn’t like how the second tier stacked up … I definitely wanted the wall to rise above the gravel 2-3” to supper the area around the bench. So I dug a bit lower and created a new baseline.

Once that was done, I added gravel for drainage and to allow me to level the timber a bit better; then staked it down. With that in place I worked the right side and got both it and the front to two timbers high. Then I worked the left, which was a bit trickier.

The hill behind the bench gets steeper on the left side and we planted a small tree there that Suzy asked me to build a small border around. So I had to worry about a double section of wall. Still, not that tough … just leveling the earth, cutting board to the correct length and angle, and pining them down!

Eventually I got three tiers in the front (one is nearly completely underground), and three on the right. To the left, I ended up going six tiers high!

That said, it was nearly completely done before I took a break for lunch.

After the meal I filled dirt in and around the wall, added some gravel, and stored my tools for tomorrow.

I have a little more gravel to add to the seating area and Suzy will have to do a bit of plant restoration, but I’m now done with this project … something I should have put in last year!

While it’s a lot easier to knock out projects like this when you have lots of materials, time, and all the tools out, I think tomorrow will be more challenging as we have a lot of winds coming in (I had to take down my shelter tent!) and rain is forecast. Alas.

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