This landscaping job in Cheadle, Staffordshire was quite a challenge, as the client’s garden was very steep. To rectify this, we decided to terrace the garden. Our brief was to create raiser borders from railway sleepers for shrubs, perennials, herbaceous plants and even vegetables. We chose to build a retaining wall at the bottom which was 2m tall. The wall had to be designed by a structural engineer due to the large amount of soil it was holding back.
The concrete foundation was 2m wide, 0.3m deep, and 30m long. It had two layers of steel mesh in to give it additional strength and flexibility. We then inserted rybars at 450mm centres. The first internal skin was concrete block. There was then a second concrete block wall built creating a cavity of 150mm. In to this cavity more reinforcing mesh was inserted, and then the concrete was poured into the cavity to create a 350mm thick solid wall. Finally we faced the wall with a 40Nm brick and put a soldier course of blue engineering bricks along the top to finish it off. We then had to back fill with hardcore to ensure the soil didn’t move forward with each lift of hardcore compacted down.
This created an ideal retaining wall that will never move. We then built three more small walls out of sleepers. These walls were constructed by:
- The bottom row of the sleepers would be bedded on spots of concrete to make sure that they are solid, stable and level.
- The sleepers are laid in a brick pattern to give the wall extra strength
- Each row is attached to the lower row using screws.
- Behind the sleeper wall, we will concrete posts into the ground at 1.2m intervals.
- The sleepers are then attached to these posts from the back of the wall to make sure that the sleeper wall does not fall forwards.
The first tiered area was turfed over to create a great space for the clients to enjoy their garden. Levelling this area off also meant that should they wish, the clients can add garden furniture or play equipment to this area without worry of an uneven surface. When carrying out landscaping in Staffordshire, we are often asked to use all of the space to its full potential, therefore this tiered garden allowed for the whole space to be utilised in a variety of different ways. The retaining walls made from railway sleepers are practical, and look fantastic.
This was a fantastic solution to a very steep garden and the client was delighted with the finished project.