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Top of retaining wall is crumbling

(13 Posts)
WellTidy Wed 31-May-17 14:55:37

I have two raised beds, one is brick with crumbling mortar, the other is knackered concrete. They have each seen much, much better days. They are sloping, and the very top of the bottom walls (which basically support it all) is crumbling. This isn't helped by my young DS picking whatever pieces of concrete or brick or mortar off that has crumbled and dropping it on the ground (he has ASD). As a result, when I am watering the beds, the soil is running downhill and falling to the ground and I am losing soil every time I water. I am using the sprinkler setting on the hose so that there isn't a whoosh of water, but I am still losing soil. The beds are about 10 metres each wide x 2-3 metres deep. There are some curved edges, they are not completely rectangular with 90 degree corners. I have shrubs and perennials in them.

Can anyone suggest what I can do to improve the situation please? I am a novice gardener so don't have any ideas beyond this decorative edging.

sunnyhills Thu 01-Jun-17 11:58:14

Hi Welltidy ,mm tricky .I'd be tempted to post over on

but in the meantime - IME those wooden rolls are difficult to fix tho Wickes do special spikes for them altho I think the metal ones would be much easier to use

But I think you'd be better with something with a slimmer profile ,not made of wood and more flexible .
There seem to be quite a lot on here

I've used this .
Maybe this the other way round ? Tho doesn't look v bendy .

WellTidy Thu 01-Jun-17 15:01:04

Thank you sunny, some new ideas for me there. I think that Homebase's edging is worth a try!

Liara Thu 01-Jun-17 19:40:48

I do a lot of dry stone retaining beds/walls, and I always top them off with stones placed vertically along the top. This retains the soil, and plants' roots gradually grow into the gaps between the stone, helping to consolidate the whole thing.

I know yours aren't stone, but maybe you could do the same with bricks or something similar?

sunnyhills Thu 01-Jun-17 20:09:49

That seems really obvious now you've said it Liara. I love things like that ,sort of simple and effective .

I shall squirrel that brilliant piece of info away and remember it !

WellTidy Thu 01-Jun-17 22:41:36

Thank you. So, would the stones be fixed on top with cement? The top is very uneven and crumbling at the moment. In some places there is concrete/brick and mortar, in other places it us missing.

Liara Fri 02-Jun-17 21:36:15

I build dry, so no, I don't fix them with anything at all. I just lay stones as thin as I can get on their sides, vertically iyswim. I then pack soil behind them and into the cracks a bit and that holds them in.


Liara Fri 02-Jun-17 21:38:39

(I don't think that link worked)

Liara Fri 02-Jun-17 21:45:28

Nothing to stop you mortaring them in if that works better for you though!

WellTidy Fri 02-Jun-17 21:48:32

That wall looks amazing. I love it. I am trying to work out how we could mend our walls using the same principles. The tops of ours are uneven. The walls are maybe 18 inches high in total. I can't add lots of layers of stone as then the walls would be too high, and I don't know how to create an even-ish top to put the vertical stones or bricks on if I am only inserting in patches. Also, DS would be likely to just lift off unfixed stones and drop them. Aaaaarggghhh!

Liara Fri 02-Jun-17 22:01:24

Small children picking off the coping stones is definitely a hazard of the technique. I was forever putting them back on the smaller beds when mine were little.

You could mix a batch of mortar and just patch up the lowest bits, and then mortar on smallish coping bricks on top.

If you were up for doing a more serious piece of work, then I would be inclined to patch up the missing bits at the top with mortar, and then render the whole thing to make them look tidy. Adding the coping bricks is then optional.

It would be half a day's work or so, though, and you would need to be confident enough to render it, so may be more than you were willing to do which is why I didn't suggest it in the first place.

WellTidy Fri 02-Jun-17 22:29:41

Thank you for your guidance. I think I need to get someone in, maybe a handyman who has plastered before.

Liara Sat 03-Jun-17 21:36:59

Yes, that would probably be worth it to make sure it can be made dc-proof! It's not a very job, but some confidence in DIY would be very helpful.

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