Front Stone Wall (Part 4)

  In late 2009, I started work on the east side of the Front Rock Wall (which became Part 1). This was going to be a little rock wall to build up the slope in front of the house and frame the Front Walkways. Figured two weekends, four tops. Took eight months. That pretty much spent my rock walling spirit. Then, during the summer of 2010, we had to put stone walls around the Patio (see Patio Part 2 for that three month saga). Then, in late summer 2011, I started the West Side of the Front Wall (becoming Part 2). Then, during the spring of 2012 through November of 2012, Part Three chronicled the continued efforts on the West Side. Now, Part Four is about the finishing of the wall itself.

  Click for a Larger Image I started "Speed Walling" in May 2013 to try to bring this project to a close in less than five years. Here you can see some dry laid stones from the back, extending the west end of the west side wall. You can see where I had orignally planned to end the wall. This extension eliminates me having to do another wall project with some other material and all new lessons and mistakes. Also lets me use up rocks and take advantage of the footer I put in last fall.

  This is the base of the extension from the money side. Nothing is glued yet. I moved a lot faster on this cause I wasn't trying to keep each layer level to the earth. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Once glued, I put the insta-rock in with a little steel reinforcement. Not a lot. To simplify and make building the back easier, the first 10 or 12 inches goes in with a form. Then I save concrete by using lots of rubble in the concrete itself. Not the straightest of lines. This will all be under fill.

  Using the Earthforce EF-3 to take out a pallet of Sakrete concrete. This is an easy 1600 lbs (four layers, five 80lb bags each). Pretty handy. I take the pallet to Lowes and stack the bags there. Makes for easy removal. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image This is in July 2013 after lots of Speed Walling progress. Note I am using money rock to back the top layers. They will show.

  Final height. Top rows are mortared. Yay. Now just need to finish the back and sides. Plans are to put a top of some sort (slate, other rock, grass) on top, so final width or look isn't critical. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Gus the Dog standing at the east corner of the west wall. He has found a way out of the back through an ancient, yet to be replaced fence, through the neighbors land and back to here, where he can take my shoes, socks, sponges, gloves, screwdrivers, hose repair things, circular saws, tool boxes, and anything else he finds to wherever the hell he takes them so that I have to buy or build them again. I love Gus about as much as I do spending four+ years on walls when I thought it would take me a couple of weekends in 2009.

  This is August 2013. Here is the finished front / top / back west extension of the west wall. Progress on the final top / back extends just around the curve. Now, August 18, progress extends to just about where the car is. But its raining today so I am documenting the wall in this web page instead of "Speed Walling." Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image This is a closeup of that corner, showing how I progress from "Really? I hvae to go another 10 inches up" to "A little concrete and some random crappy stones and Done!!"

  By the middle of September, I had made my way all the way around. I even put a conduit into the corner so I could put a corner lamp in one day. Also note the conduit for the sidewalk courtesy light (the black thing on the right side of the picture). Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Now, September 27, and the wall is ready, with all the old pallets and junk cleaned up and weedeated.

  Another view of the Almost-Ready-to-Fill area. I needed to rescue some good stones from the backside. See the courtesy light cover there in the foreground? Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image View into the sun. Still can't really get an idea of the slope. The left corner is about 42" above the driveway.

  Speaking of the corner, here it is - same day - September 27. Note the ladies head in the bottom right. That broken head saved us a few hundred singles on the statue. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Only thing missing was clean gravel - 57's - to coat the back of the wall for drainage and for the ground to heave against when freezing without busting stones loose. Had to go to the gravel store to get a few ton of gravel.

  Delivered nine ton here in the foreground with the Dump Truck. Probably only needed about four ton so I have some left over. About $60 worth of ton. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Had to use the EF-3 to skim off the sod and the first few inches of topsoil. It goes into the Dump Truck (over on the right side) to take to the topsoil pile and ferment. Won't be using that for this project.

  Time for backfilling some gravel. I'm dumping some 57's over the tailings of the rip rap that I didn't need. That was for filling the wall and forming the back side of the wall. Guess I could have put my keys, my favorite pencil, and a few C notes there too. Then I could spend a few days and choice explitives looking for them wondering who took them. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Here is the gravel fill all done. I'll cover that with landscape paper to keep the dirt from clogging up the gravel pores and then backfill some more next to the wall as I get some fill in.

  The landscape fabric cloth stuff goes over the gravel to keep it from turning to subterranean concrete that then pushes the stone wall out and busts it. Note the Earthforce EF-3 hoe and the Dump Truck bed. Couldn't do this without those little aids. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Its nice to have a compact Dump Truck.

  Its also nice to have a compact Dump Truck that actually dumps the multi ton of dirt when commanded and can propel itself away from the house when done so it doesn't become a permanent fixture in the new front yard. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Its nice to have a mid size Earthforce EF-3 to move all the tons around so as not to take months of hand shoveling by myself.

  Using the EF-3 to bring the gravel that I then shovel between the fill and the top of the wall. On the other side (East Side), I put about eight inches wide. Then nothing grew. So I am only putting about four inches here. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Here's the last couple of "lifts" (that's excavation speak for layers). This will go over the gravel and will be leveled out.

  I think the fill is done. Its September 29, 2013, four years and 29 days after I started the wall project. This is the view from the east looking west. I have a few ton of gravel left, which I'll put in the worn spots of the driveway. I will also put another layer on the east side (left side) to slope the wall left to right instead of having the wall step down. The little concrete handling wheelbarrow has been a good tool. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Looking at the fill from the south looking north. The lamp post will move somewhere else.

  Here is the fill from the west side looking east. The transition to the low side worked pretty well. I had originally planned to stop the wall right after the turn and used timbers to go to the south (from the left to the right in this picture). I am glad I did it in stone, got it done, and avoided a timber selection and engineering project. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image And finally, the view from the front. Note the two PVC drainage pipes at the base of the curved part. The grass and soil will now come forward to be even with the front of the wall. But that awaits the movement of the driveway.

Rock On