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    ajt0's Avatar
    ajt0 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Apr 29, 2008, 07:32 AM
    How do I stop dirt from washing away?
    I have a small backyard that ends off with a steep slope which leads to some sort of sewer / creek at the bottom. I have already gotten a wooden wall built behind my porch, which is now separating from the foundation of the house. Apparently that wooden wall wasn't enough and now the dirt next to the wall is starting to wash away into the ditch. I'm thinking about putting up a retaining rock wall but then, I am also concerned if the retaining rock wall will be washed down into the ditch after a couple of rain showers. What should I do about this problem before my entire house washes away?
    amricca's Avatar
    amricca Posts: 851, Reputation: 92
    Senior Member

    Apr 29, 2008, 08:27 AM
    Best thing would be to plant some grass that will keep the soil in place. Boulders are also a good way to retain without having to build footings for a wall.
    loricar's Avatar
    loricar Posts: 12, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    May 28, 2008, 05:22 PM
    Terracing, either with wood spikes set deep, or better, rock retaining walls. Quickie method would be landscape fabric to stop the water erosion. Combination of methods for short and longterm solutions, and if all else fails get a landscape architect quick!
    Good luck
    smearcase's Avatar
    smearcase Posts: 2,392, Reputation: 316
    Ultra Member

    May 29, 2008, 09:12 AM
    Not knowing exactly what the situation is. The only suggestion I have is to stabalize the slope with an excelsior matting type material, which consists of fiberglass netting which sandwichs a wood fiber or other biodegradeable material. Grass seed is planted before the matting is applied, and when the grass comes up it grows through the matting and becomes very sturdy. This works well on steep highway slopes.
    It is very important to have the backyard drain well. I don't think you want to try to protect the slope by slowing the flow of water away from the house. If you do retaining wall type structures you need drains to take the water away from the house side of the wall.
    smokedetector's Avatar
    smokedetector Posts: 368, Reputation: 56
    Full Member

    Jul 1, 2008, 08:18 PM
    You mean the wall is in place still and the dirt is slipping through the cracks or something? If this is the case, put a piece of landscaping plastic/fabric between the dirt and wall.

    If the wall is not holding, you can try repairing it by putting pieces of rebar in the ground as staves. Go at least as deep as the height of your wall, and space them at least every few feet.
    Dennis151's Avatar
    Dennis151 Posts: 15, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Aug 20, 2009, 06:32 PM

    Have you tried using a different type of dirt ? If you build a bulk head you don't want it to retain water
    ArchSteve's Avatar
    ArchSteve Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Aug 21, 2009, 09:26 PM
    Hello ajt0...
    Without some specific details, it is a bit hard to answer specifically, but it definitely sounds like you have some things working against you that are inherrent in the soil type.
    First of all, it sounds like the "wood wall" you built at the back of your patio is not stable enough to retain the dirt and the dirt has a lot of either clay or organics in it - those types of soil tend to hold water and move as a mass.

    I will suggest a number of steps, each of which will work together to address your problems:
    1) create a series of terraces with heavy timbers or self-stacking concrete retaining wall systems. Depending upon the size of the drop from one terrace to the next, you may need to reinforce the walls by driving a piece of rebar through the wood or down the center cores of the retaining blocks. The walls will need to extend at least 12" below the dirt on the low side and be set on a stable, gravel base.
    2) At the base of each terraceed wall, install about 6" of small gravel below the bottom of the wall. Make sure this layer is level and well compacted.
    3) After laying the bottom course of block or landscape timbers, backfill with gravel until ou are about 8" - 12" higher than the final grade on the low side.. At this point, lay some PVC perforated pipe along the back of the wall and create a way for drainage water to get out of the pipe and through the wall to the low side of the wall - about every 6' to 8' should be fine.
    4) back-fill the dirt behand the wall. Add some sand and smaller gravel to the backfill - this will help the soil to drain and will break it up a bit. Don't build up more than 4" - 6" before compacting the backfill and making sure there is gravel immediately behind the wall.
    5) Plant whatever type of plantings you want on the terraces - as long as they do not have large-invasive root systems. The Sales Assistants wherever you buy the plants should be able to help you make selections that are appropriate. I would suggest low-maintenance series of plants that are native to your area - and don't go too large either (no trees).
    6) As you build up the terraced wall, backfill behind the wall with gravel at least 6" behind the back face of the wall - again well-compacted. Grass may be fine, but most grasses have shallow root systems. Deeper root systems will work better to stabilize the soil.
    7) As the terraces work their way down the slope, work on diverting the water towards the drain at the bottom. (Someone obviously anticipated there would be substantial water needing to be drained away - use it to capture your excess water needing to be accommodated.

    Hope these suggestions help.
    If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

    motionspace's Avatar
    motionspace Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 24, 2009, 01:30 PM
    Earth movement is a serious issue and if you are concerned about your house moving, definitely consult with a geotechnical engineer. A geotech will be able to give you solid recommendations that will hopefully keep the house in place.

    Motionspace Architecture + Design
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    motionspace's Avatar
    motionspace Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 24, 2009, 01:33 PM
    You can find a geotech either in the phone book, or on the internet, or call a local architect or structural engineer and see who they recommend.

    Seattle Architects
    Stewartkate's Avatar
    Stewartkate Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Mar 28, 2011, 10:17 AM
    It sounds like your ravine area is like mine, only about 12' from my basement wall. I ordered a lumber load of round telephone like poles but smaller, each about 8' in length, laid them where I wanted to define the end of my property from the ravine then drove rebar into the ground behind them to hold them in place. I then poured bags of river rock in front of the poles, the water can still drain to the ravine drainage stream but it doesn't take my land with it. Over the 10 years that I have lived here I go down several times a year along the ravine slope and the downed branches and trees from the winter, I lay them horizontal to the ravine top to act as terrace. The ravine is full of trees that also shade the side of my house and not much but moss grows there. Over the years I use leaves to compost the areas closest to my house and I put layers of sand over the leaves to hold them in place. I have a squirrel problem and a mole problem, always digging away the packed dirt too but those poles I put in are allowing a slow drain away from the house without taking the dirt with it.
    Basspooh79's Avatar
    Basspooh79 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jun 11, 2012, 09:35 AM
    My yard runs toward the river and the drop was pretty bad. So, I had a buckhead built to separate the yard and to keep the house in place. Now with 18" of rain in two days it washed out at my steps and the upper yard and sidewalk caved in. How can I repair it so the washout doesn't happen again.
    smearcase's Avatar
    smearcase Posts: 2,392, Reputation: 316
    Ultra Member

    Jun 11, 2012, 12:12 PM
    Protecting against 18" of rain in two days is virtually impossible. Most of that water probably came across your property (like at least a small river) because of rising streams and/or overflowing public drainage systems. In the higway design world controlling waters of that volume involves building storage ponds or at least rip rap slopes and ditches, the rip rap being large crushed rocks about three times the size of a basketball.
    In my experience the only way those types of strutures get built is if you can convince a public agency that they are not controlling their runoff and there are a lot of public agency bucks around which in the US-there are not. Designs are rarely made to handle 18" of rain in two days. It is unlikely that that water originated on your property unless you have a very large property. It has to be diverted before it gets to you or diverted by you as soon as it enters your propery. Sounds like a good place to buy flood insurance if you don't already have it and I don't mean that disrespectfully.

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