sloped bank - Knowledgebase Question

Atlanta, Ge
Question by ritaws48
October 28, 2009
I am working on asloped bank in my back yard, need to do a terrace,steps, etc. Have some pavers but don't want ALL pavers, would love sugestions,resources

Answer from NGA
October 28, 2009


Pavers are useful, as are timbers, flagstone, gravel or even poured concrete steps when you are terracing a hillside. You can check out all the landscape blocks and pavers at your local Home Depot and glean ideas from books and magazines. Whatever materials, or combination of materials you decide upon, terracing is fairly straightforward.

The safest way to build a terrace is probably the cut and fill method. With this method, little soil is disturbed, giving you protection from erosion should a sudden storm occur befoe the project is finished. This method will also require little, if any, additional soil.

It's always a good idea to contact your utility companies to identify the location of any buried utilities before starting to excavate.

Determine the rise and run of your slope. The rise is the vertical distance from the bottom of the slope to the top. The run is the horizontal distance between the top and bottom. This will help you determine how many terraces you need. For example, if your run is 20 feet and the rise is 8 feet and you want each bed to be 5 feet wide, you will need 4 beds. The rise of each bed will be 2 feet.

Start building beds at the bottom of your slope. You will need to dig a trench in which to place your first tier. The depth and width of the trench will vary depending on how tall the terrace will be and the specific building materials you are using. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when using masonry products. Many of these have limits to the number of tiers or the height that can be safely built. If using landscape timbers and your terrace is low (less than 2 feet), you only need to bury the timber to about half its thickness or less. The width of the trench should be slightly wider than your timber. Make sure the bottom of the trench is firmly packed and completely level. Place your timbers in the trench.

For the sides of your terrace, dig a trench into the slope. The bottom of this trench must be level with the bottom of the first trench. When the depth of the trench is one inch greater than the thickness of your timber, you have reached the back of the terrace and can stop digging.

Cut a timber to the correct length and place in trench.

Drill holes through your timbers and pound long spikes or pipes through the holes and into the ground. A minimum of 18 inches pipe length is recommended; longer pipes may be needed for stability for higher terraces.

Place the next tier of timbers on top of the first, overlapping corners and joints. Spike these together.

Move soil from the back of the bed to the front of the bed until the surface is level. Add another tier as needed.

Repeat, starting with step 2. In continuously connected terrace systems, the first timber of the second tier will also be the back wall of your first terrace.

The back wall of the last bed will be level with the front wall of that bed.

When finished, plant and mulch.

Best wishes with your project!

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