Dry Stone Retaining wall has fallen over - ideas?

19 Dec 2007
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United Kingdom

We inherited some dry stone retaining walls when we moved into our house (quite why you would use such a wall for retaining a bank of earth I'm not sure.)
Yesterday it eventually fell over. How would you recommend I go about fixing it?

I had thought of building a block wall behind the original line of the dry stone wall to take the load, zig zagging the blocks to present a stonger wall to the earth. I would then build up the dry stone wall, leaning it back onto the new wall.

I'm worried about the whole lot coming down, should I hammer some angle irons into the bank to strenghten it while I'm working?

Also I had thought of building a damp stone wall (putting some mortar on the backs of the stones to help bind them togther a bit.

All comments on above plans and other ideas very greatfully received!
The image is taken from an upstairs window and doesn't really show how steep the bank is.

Many thanks.
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If there's enough mass of the wall, then it wouldn't need binding together with mortar; plus it has the advantage of letting water out through the joints and not building up pressure behind the wall. Helps if the wall leans slightly into the slope, as it's then trying to turn itself into the retained material, which counteracts the soil pushing against it.

Dig the soil back at an angle behind the wall to self support, put a little foundation in and rebuild the wall at a slight angle towards the soil, with mortared joints if that will give you comfort (in which case, put a couple of 38mm dia lengths of plastic pipe through the wall at low level to let water out), then replace the soil behind the wall.

If you use mortar, then put some brick cramps every 300 or so for the hight of the wall, plugged and screwed into the house wall, which will stop the end flapping about.

Did it fall down when someone was stood on there?
Thanks for the reply. I think in time the mass of the wall had moved forward and eventually it fell, there was someone two terraces further up the garden when it happened.

I quite like the idea of a little concrete foundation and then relaying the stone wall with perhaps 'pads' of mortar at the back of teh stones just to strenghten it. Should let plenty of water though too. Will certainly built it back at an angle.

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