docdubz
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building a retaining wall garden against a wooden fence

Hi all,

I am currently undertaking the pretty expensive project of building a natural looking stone retaining wall. I already have my trenches dug and lined with gravel, but I have one question that I need an answer to before I start building. I am building it against a wooden fence, there are going to be several layers of height in my design with 1', 2' and 3' sections which will have the respective amount of soil contacting the wooden fence. Obviously, I over looked that one detail before I started digging. I need to come up with a means of keeping the soil and runoff water from touching the fence, or this stone wall project will turn into a fencing project. I assume that I am probably going to have to build the additional walls against the fence out of cinderblock/brick. But before I do that, is there a readily available material that would be cheaper (and easier) to assemble to accomplish the job?

thanks for any input

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rainbowgardener
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Can't you just line the bottom section of the wooden fence with plastic before you put any dirt in ? Grade the beds so they slope a little bit away from the fence.

What are you planning to grow there? Seems like the fence would make it too shady for a lot of things.
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docdubz
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a plastic lining was my first idea, i didnt post it here because I wasn't sure how stupid it sounded. My only worry with plastic is would the fence + a thicker plastic material be able to hold the weight of a 3 foot mound of dirt

The soil is gonna be graded away from the fence. It is in the north east corner of my yard, so it will get direct sunlight from around about 11am-6pm. I was planning on growing more along the line of ferns and other forest floor underbrush (like the kind you would find near a swampy/pond area) to create a 'wild' look.

Renidea
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If you're looking for a natural woodland look for the beds, is there any reason you're raising the beds in the first place?

You could save money by keeping the bed flush with the ground and eliminate the worry about building up soil weight and drainage against the fence. If you'd like to keep it separated from you lawn to reduce weeding, try installing some sort of border. Maybe a recessed brick border or a more decorative stone border that stays low?

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tomf
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Renidea wrote:If you're looking for a natural woodland look for the beds, is there any reason you're raising the beds in the first place?

You could save money by keeping the bed flush with the ground and eliminate the worry about building up soil weight and drainage against the fence. If you'd like to keep it separated from you lawn to reduce weeding, try installing some sort of border. Maybe a recessed brick border or a more decorative stone border that stays low?
Good point.

There is a membrane that is a thick water proof barrier that you can use, Plastic will rot. If there is a bunch of dirt pushing on the fence it may knock it over so yes you may need to add a wall there. You will need to put in a french drain or the water will cause damage.

docdubz
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thanks tom, I was already planning on making a french drain system due to the way the wall was being built up.

Renidea, youve never seen woodlands with rock faced cliffs? I was asking for advice on how to best handle the the soil weight and drainage, not to eliminate it. Seperating the soil from the lawn to reduce weeding is not a concern. And a recessed brick border is 100000% the opposite of what I want. Thanks for your input, but I wasnt looking for a 'womany' little garden with a cute little brick border.

mjadams
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There really isn't a material that is going to be cheaper or easier than concrete blocks. They will require no maintenance and won't rot or rip.
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tomf
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mjadams wrote:There really isn't a material that is going to be cheaper or easier than concrete blocks. They will require no maintenance and won't rot or rip.
This is a good option, just make sure there are drain holes so the wall does not get pulled over.

tay666
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First question I have, is what is the fence made of?
I mean, is it one-by material, two-by?
Is it treated, hardwood, or softwood?
How heavy are the fence posts, and how far apart are they?

Not knowing how sturdy the fence, is, I can't comment on weather you would be better off lining it with something, or not.

mjadams
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This is a good option, just make sure there are drain holes so the wall does not get pulled over.[/quote]

You can also lay a perforated pipe behind the wall that is surrounded by crushed stone. That should also get the water away from the soil against the wall.
americansustainabilityblog.blogspot.com

eklawun
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Are you still responding to this thread? What did you decide to do? Can you post pictures? I just joined the forum yesterday and have a north-east corner (flat as a pancake) surrounded by a cedar privacy fence and have been pondering how to raise the area. I am also thinking about three feet at the highest part, sloping down towards the rest of the yard. I was also thinking about a woodland scheme with river birch or something similar and maybe rhododendron and ferns. I am in NE Oklahoma, which is hotter than blazes right now, so i am hoping to add an element of cool woodsy-ness if that is even possible.
I would be really interested in what you ended up doing if you would care to share :)
Thanks!
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lpyrbby
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I'm curious about the solution to this as well. I won't be doing any ground breaking until next spring...maybe...who knows with me. But I want to build a 1ft tall by 3-4ft wide bed to plant some bleeding heart in. The only reason I want to plant the bed is because I'm going to put some lavender in front of it and want to make sure the bleeding heart still has some visibility.

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