How to terrace a slope?

@rhinoboy (2129)
December 6, 2006 5:08am CST
I have a steep slope in my garden and it is useless for anything. I would like to build walls to make the slope into 3 terraces but worried of walls collapsing. I can't afford to have them done by a builder but could save up for materials (bricks and concrete etc). Have you done anything like this? What problems did you encounter and how did you solve them? What tips can you give me for making walls to hold up a metre of soil (about 3 feet each wall). I will also need to build steps and would like to build in a Koi pond. Does this make things much harder?
4 responses
@nancygibson (3738)
• France
11 Dec 06
I've got a similar problem in my garden, I plan to build retaining walls out fo breeze blocks then put a drystone wall in front of them for added stregth, ooks and to create planting pockets. I'm going to go for a lot of small terraces rather than a few tall ones though to make it easier to do safely and without risk of slippage
@rhinoboy (2129)
11 Dec 06
That sounds really nice. The problem I have is that this terracing will constitue most of my garden. I currently have flat 'strips' at the bottom and the top of my slope a bit like; /---------- / / / ---/ [ [ -----[ (Hope that come out right! - I really need to transfer more photos!) So I want to chop out the slope and hold up the top level while just replacing the dry-stone wall at the bottom.
@rhinoboy (2129)
11 Dec 06
oh well - it didn't work, maybe I'll get those photos?!!!
@smacksman (6081)
8 Dec 06
The force that earth fill exerts on a 3' retaining wall is enormous! This is a civil engineering job and very expensive. Briefly, the wall should be L shaped in cross section with the toe of the L pointing uphill so that it is buried by the fill that it is retaining. The weight of the fill on the toe helps hold the wall up. The wall is made of reinforced concrete which requires shuttering plywood well supported while the concrete cures. The concrete can then be faced with brick or stone for a more pleasing effect. Another way takes up more space but may be more DIY orientated. End the terrace with a steeply sloping bank faced with stones taken from the earth moving, to stop the face of the bank erroding and until grass, herbs or wild flowers can bind the bank with their roots. Hope this helps.
@rhinoboy (2129)
11 Dec 06
I'm surprised about this, as I had read previously that only walls of over 1 metre in height need to be properly engineered as you say. I planned to build the walls with an 18" x 18" concrete foundation and 2 courses thick with steps on the outside face, for support as well as access and pillars in any face longer than 2 metres. There would also be founds and half brick walls running into the hill as I plan to install Koi ponds too. I thought this would be fine provided I had plenty of drainage (to avoid excess pressure through water retention) as there's currently a dry-stone wall holding over 2 feet without any problems.
@rhinoboy (2129)
11 Dec 06
Forgot to add, thanks for your reply, you really seem to know your stuff. I'd love to hear more from you on this subject!
@sonix007 (275)
• Indonesia
9 Dec 06
good planning. but u must still thinking about fertility of soils?
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
9 Dec 06
tire terracing - using discarded tires to hold back a bank of earth and stabilized the area
We built an earth bermed home and had an oval area I call the court yard. I took used tires and built my terraced levels. Not only is it stable and looks nice, the plants I put in the middles of tires are happy since the black absorbs heat and keeps them in sort of a micro climate. Tires are usually free for the taking if you ask around.