Retaining Wall- Day 5 (shaping shotcrete)

 The snow has finally melted enough that the guys came back to work. They started by taking off the forms on the large wall.

 Then they sprayed the concrete. It came out a big blob like mess.

Then they shaped it. The large back wall will be filled with dirt so that's why only the top is finished.

 Back view. I love how it came out here. Too bad you can't really see it unless you go for a walk in the woods :) There is a trail behind our house for real though.

 As I wrote earlier, we will be fencing in the garden area in side the walls. The fence will be a rectangle which leaves some extra area where the bottom wall curves. For that reason, you may be wondering why we curved the bottom wall. Well, the initial plan was to do just a lower wall. But when Randy came, he said that there is a minimum amount of concrete that needs to be used and the lower wall wasn't enough. So then we decided to do it terraced adding the upper small wall. In order to maximize the space inside the fence we did that wall more straight. So I kind of wish I had designed things better but in the end, it actually worked out well. I will post tomorrow about the garden plan and you'll see why :)

Retaining Wall- Day 4 (Shotcrete)

This is what went on last Thursday. Both Cameron and I haven't seen shotcrete done before so it was fun to watch.

I didn't even know there was a concrete truck involved haha!

It comes out really pressurized, hence the three guys holding the hose.

 Randy let Cruz help hold the hose it was really cute. 

And a video:

They just put on one layer, and soon they will do another. The weather here now is icy and cold so I don't think there will be much going on with the wall early this week.

Retaining Wall- Day 3

As much as I love to do projects, this retaining wall has been fun just to sit back and watch. I think it would have taken us all summer to do a retaining wall by ourselves!

Yesterday it was 15 degrees out and I thought they might not come to work but they did, and early too brrrr!
I couldn't tell what they were doing in the morning when I shot this picture.

But I went down after they left in the evening and could see they were busy putting up a bunch of re-bar. The wall won't be poured concrete but sprayed on via a hose- which is known as shotcrete. I've never actually seen it done before so I'm excited for that part.

As you can see, the small wall is up now too.

Retaining Wall- Day 2

Yesterday all the forms for the back portion of the retaining wall went up. 

The area that I talked about yesterday were Cam, kids, and I dug out grass.

 There is going to be a small wall up where the arrow is

 Here you can see how sloped it really is

Of course in my graphed out plans I wanted the garden to be huge! I planned for 16 x 32. When Cameron found out 32 feet went just a few feet shy of the shed length wise, he said that was too much. So I scaled back a bit and I think after the concrete is done it will be more like 18 x 25ft. 

Garden Change Up

Our original plan for the garden was to fix up the railroad ties where my garden was going to be and make things simple. Then I got all worried about all the chemicals they use to preserve railroad ties and I decided they couldn't stay. We needed a new retaining wall and I really wanted something that would last.

 I watched about 10 you tube videos on how to build a retaining wall and I felt pretty good about Cam and I building it ourselves. The plan was to use a natural stone and mortar.

The day that Cameron was fixing up the deck, I laid out the plan for the wall. I laid out my hose to make the shape I wanted and then quickly ran a line through the dirt with a pick axe.

And next, I started to dig. For the 3-4 hours Cameron was working on the deck, I was digging out the trench for the wall. I got about 6 inches deep and made it 5 feet length wise (no picture of that disappointment). If you live in Arkansas, you know why it took so long. Arkansas native "soil" is probably 75% rock and 25% clay. It was horrible. I was really tired and really discouraged. I was so bummed because I really wanted to get my garden up and going asap!

So Cameron and I talked about it and we decided if we could hire it out for within our budget, we would do that. Another reasoning behind hiring someone was if we did the wall wrong and it failed, we would end up spending more in the long run.

Luckily, we didn't need to decide who to get a bid from because our friends from church own a concrete business, Aquacrete. Randy came out to look at it, and (yay!) the quote was within our budget.

In the week before they came, we ripped out the ties to prep.

 Before and after, timbers and none.

 Digging out the garden area.

They started this week! I didn't get any pictures of the first day. But basically they just dug the trench for the wall. And those guys we super tough, the two of them did triple what I did just a few hours. They even used the same tools as me, pick axe and shovel.

After they left last night, we dug out the grass for the area where the garden will be.

I will post some pictures of today's progress tomorrow, so stay tuned!