How to Build a Timber Retaining Wall – This Old House

Build It
This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook shows how to construct a wood-timber retaining wall to create a play area. (See below for a shopping list and tools.)

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Shopping List for How to Build a Timber Retaining Wall:
– 1×3 wood stakes and nylon string, used to establish layout lines for timbers
– 6×8-inch pressure-treated landscaping timbers, used to build retaining wall
– wood preservative, to treat cut ends of timbers
– 3/4-inch stone, used as base and drainage material
– landscaping filter fabric, used to prevent soil from clogging drainpipe
– 4-inch-diameter perforated drainage pipe, for draining water away from retaining wall
– 1/2-inch-diameter (No. 4) x 4-foot-long metal reinforcing bar, used to stake timbers and dead men to ground
– 12-inch landscaping screws, for fastening together the landscaping timbers
– bark mulch, used to cover the ground in front of the retaining wall

Tools for How to Build a Timber Retaining Wall:
– hand tamper, used to compact the soil and stone base
– wheelbarrow, used to transport stone and mulch to jobsite
– shovel, for excavating the ground
– circular saw, used to cut timbers
– impact driver, used to drive landscaping screws into timbers
– drill/driver with 9/16-inch-diameter spade bit, used to bore holes in timbers for rebar stakes
– sledgehammer, used to drive in rebar and wood stakes
– 6-foot level
– torpedo level
– foam paint brush

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