Monday, January 19, 2015

Retaining walls

Welcome to our blog, Menfranco general blog
and this post, Retaining walls
This is a well built stone retaining wall. It could be costly to build one of this walls, but they last a long time if they are well built, it is worth to look into it if you need one of them.

Retaining walls
The reason that we would like to talk in this post about retaining walls is the following; you see, most people that own a house would like to enjoy their property in full, so if there is anything that could be done to improve their property they will do it willingly. Most times we could improve our property by doing a few things in the yard. For instance people would like to stay outside where they have a garden and enjoy gardening, or perhaps they would like to have a barbecue with their family and friends, but there are times when it is not easy to do that, because the land around the house is not level and in some places it is hard even to stand up straight, so it is time to think of something about how to improve the situation, perhaps a retaining wall might help, so how do we go about, how to build a retaining wall one may ask?
We need to say here that there are many types of retaining wall that we could build, so we are going to write some posts to show you some of them, but first let us talk about the retaining stone wall shown here in this post, I reckon that it is a very well built stone wall, here we need to say that we all would like to be able to build ourselves a wall like that, or get some professional to build a stone retaining wall like the one shown here at the beginning of this post, if we need one, but a wall like that is very costly and also hard to build, unless you are an expert and know what needs to be done.
So let us see what we can learn from this stone wall picture, just by looking at it and trying to imagine how this wall has been built. What we should note from the picture is that the retaining wall has been built leaning towards the bank it is holding up, we can see this at the right end of the wall where the wall goes around the corner,  the stones are laid dry as there is no sign of any mortar around, the stones are not all the same size, and they are longer and shorter stones, but they are all the same thickness and they are laid the same way as we lay a course of bricks, but at the same time the mason has made sure that the vertical join are not setting one above the other, and this is a hard thing to do with stones of all different size, everything is so tidy, the wall thickness is not shown anywhere, but because there is a very low wall started near, it seems that the wall has been built like a double brick wall, we can also guess that perhaps some of the short stones are not really short, but they have been laid like a header brick to tie the front with the back of the wall, at the top the last course of stone, the stones are longer and perhaps as wide as the whole wall itself, so that they would tie everything together. These are the main features that we can learn from looking at this stonewall picture.
Now that we have explained that let us go back and try to write about some do it yourself retaining walls, as there are many easy and also hard retaining walls to build, as there are many reasons for building them. 
How to build a retaining wall
Okay, there are several ways how to build a retaining wall and there are several types of retaining walls that we can build. Therefore, first of all we have to see what we gain by building this type of retaining wall, or that type of retaining wall, and above all how much it could cost us, in other words we have to study the situation first, so that we can decide what type of retaining wall to build. Now here we need to say also that we should try to build our retaining walls with those building materials that are easily available, to avoid extra cost. In other words look first where you are and what local materials are available. You see, if you are in a place where stones or rocks are plentiful, and you might even have some of these in your yard, then it could be a lot cheaper to build your retaining wall with these materials, and even if you have to buy the lot they would be cheap anyhow; but if you are in a place where there are plenty of trees and there is even a sawmill nearby, then it would be more appropriate to build it with timber.    
Having said that it is obvious that for you to decide what is the best retaining wall or walls to build we need to show and explain to you what could be done and how could it be done. Now this article is being written for this very purpose in mind, therefore here under we will try to do just that. Let us start with a very easy and cheap retaining wall that most people would be able to do it themselves, even if they do not know much about building anything, as long as they have a few tools and know a little bit how to use them; here we suggest that anyone of us is able to dig a few holes in the ground to place a few short posts and place a couple of sleeper timber planks against those posts and secure them by nailing or screwing them to the posts. It sound and is very simple, isn’t it? But this is not the only retaining wall that we would like to show you so keep reading this article as we add more and more to it, as it could become interesting and you could even learn something about building them.
Anyhow I believe that this post is becoming too long, so see you in our next post, where we are going to talk about, Timber retaining walls.

This is: 
Menfranco general blog, 
Retaining walls
Next time with, Timber retaining walls 
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