Repair project started

Two summers ago I built the first bamboo planter box in my yard. I had built one before at a friend's house, but this was the first for me. I took a shortcut when building it that I'm paying for now.

The box was built on a slope, and although it was level when new, it didn't have a great foundation and it has settled. The sloping box really bothers me, so although I removed the bamboo from it last year, I finally motivated myself to tackle this project.


Here's the problem area:

Deep down I knew when building it that this would never work, but the small part of my brain that said "how could it possibly go wrong?" won out because it was easier than creating a proper foundation.

Since there was some soil remaining from the bamboo removal, I had to dig it out first so I could move the box out of the way:

I salvaged the Verbena bonariensis volunteer before digging

(Note: this project was done over three different non-consecutive days, so you may note the changing light and dampness levels.)

With the soil and box gone, I was wondering what I'd do with the paver base:

But it just lifted up in one piece! (Except for one square that fell out)

So these puny rocks have to go:

Although the heavy base-turned-wall wasn't going anywhere, I added some stakes as extra protection:

Then pulled out the rocks and started digging a trench for the retaining wall bricks.

It looked like a three-high stack would be about right:

So I dug the lowest level in:

Then backfilled with packed soil and built up the wall:

Because of the weird slope here, it was quite difficult getting things level. My first attempt would require me to use partial bricks and end up with a funky stair-step situation. Ideally I should have dug out the entire area and created a foundation completely around the perimeter, but I really only wanted to put it on this downslope side.

The corner was the only part that was a full 3 bricks high. The rest
of the wall would need partial bricks, which I didn't know how to do.

I wasn't sure what to do to fix this problem, but then it hit me: why not remove a little more soil at the base of what was now the "wall" so that I could make the wall level? Very simple solution. I hope this image shows what I had to do adequately:

I removed about an inch and a half (38mm) of soil from below where the "wall" was resting. I'll need to dig out a little more before laying the base back down again, but this is going to work!

The foundation wall was pretty level again, and more importantly a fairly flat surface:

So I used landscape block adhesive to stick things in place:

And I'm ready to finish the final leveling out the soil, lay the base back down, and get the box back into place.

That project will wait for another day though.


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LostRoses  – (July 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM)  

Gosh, great job! That's the kind of task I would probably put off forever. Well done.

Lisa  – (July 15, 2013 at 7:48 PM)  

I can see why you did it the easy way the first time!

Barbie  – (July 16, 2013 at 6:25 AM)  

Nice one Alan - I am guilty of also completing projects I know will not have a long life.... This will stand the test of time! Looks good too!

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