[permaculture] retaining wall

Kevin Topek ktopek at houston.rr.com
Thu Sep 30 13:08:51 EDT 2004


I prefer rip rap, broken up concrete. It is a waste material that looks as
good as stone, if not better, and is available in urban/suburban areas in
abundance. It can be stacked like stone, and painted with moss to mimick
age. Mix healthy moss in a blender with buttermilk and apply it to wet
stone/concrete with a chip brush and water lightly and often until it gets
established. The buttermilk acts as a sticking agent and feeds the moss
initially. My neighbors all comented favorably on mine recently, made from
my 70 year old walkway, and at first I thought they were being facetious
(very uptight urban neighborhood). They actually like it, and it stops my
yard from washing into the street. I backfilled with sheet mulch and will
paint with moss when the rains return (current drought in Houston). We also
use it as gabion material in watersheds and bayous. It ages beautifully and
in an area with no natural stone it really fits the bill on many levels.
Make sure the base is furthest out downhill and build upwards toward the
hill, offsetting each layer slightly inward. Backfill as you go and test
stability often. If it is wiggly, try another piece and make it firm. An
ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure. If you are not
comfortable as a stone mason, find someone who is! I know my limitations and
tend to do the manual work while my man sets the stones, he has a gift for
spatial recognition. I love this material and recommend it highly!

Kevin Topek
Permaculture Design

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kelly Lockamy" <garden_muse at bellsouth.net>
To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 2004 10:08 AM
Subject: [permaculture] retaining wall

> Friends,
> I do small scale permaculture and landscape designs for urban/suburban
> clients.  Currently I have the need to build a retaining wall about 2-3
> high and about 30 feet long.  It will seperate the yard from the sidewalk,
> so i need to be sure it won't tumble into the sidewalk someday.  It needs
> be inexpensive to build, I was thinking a sandbag core with a stucco-type
> outer layer.  Can anyone recommend some "how-to" reference materials for
> this?  Any suggestions as to other materials, cheap, long-lasting.... (hot
> sub-tropical, humid environment)
> Many Thanks,
> Kelly
> -----

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