Please Select Username to appear on public areas of the site like community and recipe comments. Eliminate steep, difficult to mow slopes, stop erosion and create attractive planting beds with an easy to assemble wood retaining wall. This wall is unusual in that it doesn't rely on dead weight or deep pilings to keep from caving in or shifting. Every slope is different, so plan to establish a level base, then step it up or down as needed to handle hills that slope sideways. We built the exposed surfaces of this wall with brown pressure treated lumber and below-grade members with less expensive green treated lumber. A good-looking retaining wall depends on level footings, and the best way to establish level over long distances is with a builder's level. Rotate the scope until it's directly over two of the four adjusting nuts and twist the nuts until the bubble is centered in the vial.
Looking through the scope, you'll see crosshairs that will tell you the exact height of whatever is being measured (see Photo 7) relative to a “benchmark,” or starting point.
Build a 90-degree assembly jig from 2x4s (shown in blue) to keep the stanchions square while you nail. Coat (dip or paint) the ends, especially freshly cut ones, with wood preservative to prevent rot.
If you're hardy and have lots of time on your hands, you could do all the excavating and backfilling by hand, but that's a huge job, especially for this design. Figure out how many stanchions you need (See “Ordering the lumber and hardware” below), and assemble them in your garage (Photos 1-3).
Enough linear footage of brown treated 2x8 to cap the walls ordered, in any multiple of 4 ft.
One Simpson TS18 Twist Strap (or the equivalent; straps are probably special order) and about 20 galvanized joist hanger nails. A quarter pound of hot-dipped galvanized 16d nails for fastening the 2x6 planks on the back of the posts. Set the first post on the sand footing and adjust the stanchion until it's plumb and roughly square to the direction of the wall face. There are some people who dream about fame and fortune and others who dream about the perfect pizza. The other option is to build your own as the flickr user above has so beautifully done and documented.


For those of you ready to dive in already, you can find step-by-step instructions here as well as a tools and materials list. KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same. If you need a table top podium to prop up your speaking material, you can either purchase the podium from a local store or you can make one at home. Now you need to create a space in the table top podium where you can place books and other material relative to your presentation. Instead, it gets its soundness from the inherent strength of a rigid triangle assembly and the dirt that's piled behind it. Then rotate the scope 90 degrees so it's over the other two adjusting nuts and level it again.
Divide the total wall length of each tier by 4 and add 1 to get the total number you need to build. I tend to be part of the latter crowd and have often dreamed about having my own wood-fired pizza oven in the backyard. Although I'm no handyman, I'm thinking that I could eventually pull something like this off with practice (i.e. Fortunately, making a wood table top podium is a very simple task so you will not require any specialised tools.
Accomplish this by cutting the board with a table saw along the diagonal line that you drew earlier. Apply wood glue all along the podium’s top bottom edge and affix the 1-by-1-by-18 hardwood strip. The very earth that's the enemy of most retaining walls actually works with this design to give it strength. The headers, footers, braces and shelves anchor the stanchions deep into the side of the hill to keep the wall from tipping out or sliding away from the slope. If upper tiers will rest on earth that's been disturbed from building a lower wall, you might have to wait as long as six months for the soil to settle naturally, especially in dry weather. If your lumberyard doesn't carry brown, use green for all the parts and stain any exposed wood after the wall is up. Rest the bottom of the brace on the header and adjust the brace until the top of the hanger is about 3 in.
Nail two shelves on the top of the header, one on each side of the brace (see Photo 6 and Fig.


The problem is that you need a fortune (upwards of $2000) if you want to buy one pre-assembled. The sides that were cut should be placed on the surface to make the podium sides stand upright. We'll demonstrate the assembly, layout, backfilling and anchoring techniques that will make you comfortable tackling this project yourself. A special steel strap (Photo 2) ties the 45-degree brace to the top of the posts to keep everything straight up and down.
Hasten the process by soaking the backfill (the fresh dirt behind the lower wall) with a sprinkler a few hours a day for a few days, and then allow a couple of extra days for the soil to dry out before starting higher tiers. To handle the transition between tiers, install bulkhead planks (Photo 15) between the upper and lower posts. Both the green and the brown wood used in this wall are rated for “ground contact” (not for below grade or foundation use). We rented one and spent seven hours doing what a professional could have done in an hour and a half at a much lower cost.
After the upper wall was finished, we backfilled and graded the entire area surrounding the walls to get it ready for sod. Pound a stake near the center of the hole, keeping the top of the stake even with the top of the hole. To make sure that the hardwood strip stays in place, drive finish nails through it from the podium’s top with a hammer. However, this wall will easily last a few decades—especially if you brush or dip the cut board ends with wood preservative (Photo 4). Nail the hanger onto the post with joist hanger nails and tack the brace to the header with two 3-in.
It took three separate sessions with the loader to dig out and backfill our double-tier wall.



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