Retaining Wall Next to Oak Tree: What are my options?


Old 11-15-14, 03:13 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Retaining Wall Next to Oak Tree: What are my options?

Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting here. I just purchased my very first house (soon to close escrow) so I guess you can say the house is almost mine. I have some concerns regarding the backyard though. As you can see from the attached pictures there is currently a small retaining wall with rebar.

I would love to hear some of your opinions on what I could do with the space. My two main goes are:
  1. Ensure that my house is safe from any mudslides or drainage problems
  2. Widen the space of my backyard

Since there are those 3 oak trees that I cannot remove, I do not know what is feasible and what is not. Is building an improved retaining wall closer to the trees a possibility?

Name:  Screen shot 2014-11-15 at 2.10.34 PM.jpg
Views: 4410
Size:  51.7 KB

Name:  Screen shot 2014-11-15 at 2.11.16 PM.jpg
Views: 1576
Size:  51.7 KB
Sponsored Links
Old 11-15-14, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
Posts: 4,296
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
Welcome to the forums.
I think that, if you try to move the wall much closer to those oaks, you will run into roots. Cutting into them could weaken the trees. I don't know if you are in the drought area, but if so, the trees are already stressed.
Old 11-15-14, 07:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 578
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
As Goldstar said there's not much you can do without disturbing the roots of the trees and that would kill them. If you are worried about mud coming down in your home you could terrace the hillside in small steps to limit the runoff. That wouldn't really give you a bigger back care like you're looking for but certainly would give you some more landscaping options.
Old 11-15-14, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,130
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
As a first minimal step, you definitely need some ground cover to prevent surface erosion and get some moisture into the soil instead of running off and downhill quickly and eroding the slope.

Old 11-16-14, 01:38 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fair Oaks, CA
Posts: 36
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
With no deadmen in the wall and just that rebar holding back the soil, I think it's clear that the wall isn't doing much. In other words, if there was significant force being generated by movement in that hillside, that wall wouldn't be able to do much to prevent it.

Building a tall wall would be a waste because if you backfill it to add usable space you'd be burying those roots under a foot of soil, and I think there's a good chance you'd do harm to the trees that way.

Even to put in a stackable retaining wall, you'd need to excavate 24" back.

Just replace what you got, but do it better.
Old 11-17-14, 09:41 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you all for the feedback. I really appreciate it. It appears my only true option is to rebuild the existing wall as Agent008 stated.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title: