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planned landscaping can make it usable again, read on for D.I.Y.
What materials can be used to terrace a slope.
These are some of the most popular materials used for terracing a garden slope.
Stone retaining walls using pre-formed concrete stacking blocks (not cheap), breeze blocks, house bricks or natural stone (expensive).
Reclaimed railway sleepers are fairly cheap and treated to last. But the downside with railway sleepers is the oil and tar used to preserve them making them unsuitable for sitting on or contacting with bare skin, especially if you suffer from allergies.
Sleepers are a cleaner, but slightly more expensive option to build the retaining walls from. They will need to be treated over the years to prevent them from rotting.
Gabions (wire cages filled with stone or rubble), are being used more and more in domestic landscaping for building, cheap, safe and attractive retaining walls.
Block-shaped wire mesh baskets, you fill with stone or rubble, Inexpensive and attractive alternative to conventional brick, breeze block or sleeper retaining walls.
Gabions are made of durable, coated wire mesh with a mesh size of 5 x 10 centimeters.Installation is quick and easy and ideal for D.I.Y. as you wont need special tools or skills. Just follow the instructions that come them.
Can I level a garden slope myself?
Leveling and terracing a sloping garden takes a lot of time and effort. Shifting earth, maybe digging out clay, But It is a job you can handle yourself, bear in mind though, if things start to go wrong and you end up calling in landscape gardeners to put it right, when the walls retaining the terraces start to give, it will cost lot more in the end.
How to build retaining walls to terrace a sloping garden.
If you do decide to terrace the slope yourself it will be worth the hard graft, stopping the impact of erosion by forming even a short slope into terraces will save money on plants and make the area more workable, also mowing lawns will be much easier.
You can use a range of materials to form the retaining walls from the two main ones we have discussed earlier, treated wood or stone, through to house bricks (reclaimed brick makes an attractive wall), concrete, quarry rocks and if the terracing isn't very steep you can use compacted piled earth. The durability of the wall will depend on the material you use and the quality of the footings you build the wall on.
Basic design advice for building a retaining
Try to keep the maximum height of your walls to about two foot. If you build higher make sure the retaining wall leans slightly back into the soil. Retaining walls take a lot of pressure from the weight of the soil and rain water (a single cubic foot of wet soil can weigh up to 100 pounds). If you are using cemented stone or concrete to retain the terraces in the slope, form weep holes in the bottom of the wall.
High retaining walls have the greatest risk of failure. As the retaining wall height increases, the force trying to topple the wall increases by
a large factor. For example, if you double the height of a wall, the tipping force can increase by a factor of three or four times.
More information about retaining walls and using dry stone walling to level a slope.
What do I do with the soil when leveling a slope
To save time shifting soil from one area to another we use the dig and fill method to form the terraces, digging out soil to level one area, and using this soil to fill the lower areas.
If you plan it right you won't have a lot of topsoil to get rid off.
How long will it take to level a slope.
Doing it yourself will depend on the size of the garden, the steepness of the slope, access to the skip and how much help you can count on. If I can get a digger onto the slope. The leveling and terracing work normally takes me a couple of weeks in a small to medium garden.
The Benefits of leveling or terracing a slope include;