Steps or retaining wall?

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Old 09-01-15, 03:58 PM
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Steps or retaining wall?

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Hello,

We just removed a narrow concrete patio and the dirt that was underneath it in our backyard in an attempt to expand the size of the patio and use pea gravel instead.

We are going to reduce the size of the sewer clean-out pipe so that it's underneath the level of the dirt.

The part we're not sure about is the mound of dirt that's under the large chunks of concrete. We know we're going to remove the dirt (up to the point of the concrete stairs) but we're not sure what we're going to put in it's place, to hold up the concrete steps and the dirt that's supporting them.

We are trying to decide if we should add steps (maybe railroad ties?) or a retaining wall (not sure what we'd use).

Whatever we use, we want to make sure the dirt underneath the existing concrete steps doesn't wash away. We have access to the patio from the other side, so we don't necessarily need steps down from here, but it would be nice.

Any tips? Thanks!
 
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Old 09-01-15, 04:10 PM
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Not knowing what was there before, I would still want the second exit. I would go with steps.
 
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Old 09-01-15, 04:33 PM
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Here's a before pic.

The reason we removed the concrete is that it only was about 60% of the width of the entire tier. It wasn't wide enough for a table and chairs.

Our main concern is supporting the existing concrete steps in the background and ensuring the dirt holding them up doesn't wash away.
 
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Old 09-01-15, 05:46 PM
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You didn't have to do all that work. You could have extended what was there. It will cost a fortune to rebuild it unless you build a deck, in it's place.

A ribbon footing or a cheek wall will maintain what's left of the steps. After that, it's up to you how you replace what you removed.
 
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Old 09-01-15, 06:36 PM
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Not fans of concrete

We didn't want a concrete patio... plus, it wasn't level.
Now it's level, but we have to secure the steps.
 
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Old 09-01-15, 07:19 PM
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It wasn't supposed to be level. It's supposed to allow the water to run away from the house. Whatever you build has to do the same thing. Securing the steps is the easy part. The rest of it will take some thought.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 09:57 AM
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You wouldn't have been able to tell from the prior pictures, but there is a deck above the section in question, so it doesn't get wet. We're going to put in pea gravel which allows rain water to flow through it into the soil below. The soil below the gravel will be on a slight angle running away from the house.

The main concern we have is securing the existing steps.
If we go with a wall, does it have to be concrete or can we use stones?
If we go with stairs, what materials can we use? Railroad ties? Stones?

Thanks again!
 
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Old 09-02-15, 04:08 PM
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It's a combination. A concrete footing or footings are needed no matter what you do. A footing is needed to hold the exiting steps & more footings would be needed to add steps. Your structure is built from the bottom up. Where I live, I would have to be concerned with a 3' frost line. My footings would have to be 3' deep. You probably don't have to worry about that. 2' deep would probably be enough.
 
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