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View Full Version : Poured concrete arena retaining wall?



horsepoor
Jul. 28, 2012, 06:37 PM
Anyone done it?

This is the direction we are going as we live on the side of a hill, and making a flat arena spot is going to require that we do something for a retaining wall on the low side. Were talking a 4' wall, so not just a little curb...this thing has to be well constructed! This will be an outdoor arena. I really don't want a building...ever, but we're keeping that option open for future owners by planning for that in our placement, etc.

Priced concrete blocks and that was $$ just for materials, plus hauling and placing (we are not able or willing to do this ourselves...contracting out). Looked at RR ties for a wall, which costs less for materials, but more labor intensive and that didn't save much. Also not as durable. In the end, having a concrete wall poured is looking like the best option. Makes up about 25% of the total arena cost, but when you choose to live on a hill, guess that's what you deal with!

Anyway, just curious if anyone has had to do this, or are we the only crazy people? And any thoughts on this little plan of mine - I'm thinking I can have the fence posts ready when they pour, and pop those in to the concrete so we are ready to fence and no digging. Since we will need a fence of some sort there, whether I choose to do the whole ring or not, so no surprise exits over the 4' drop! I thought round steel posts would work nicely for this.

I'd be curious too, if anyone has done this, what drainage issues you've had. Just to see how the plan we have for drains/slope compares.

ReSomething
Jul. 28, 2012, 09:16 PM
One of our posters put up pictures of her farm and had several (extremely expensive) beautiful rock walls put up for the arena and other areas.

Concrete is definitely faster. Dad the engineer used to design lots of retaining walls, not so many concrete except for businesses. If I recall you need to allow for drainage behind the thing otherwise it'll get mighty swampy. That means backfilling with large gravel on the bottom and smaller up top and a little bit of care when digging the bottom so it'll drain to one end or the other. Some people let in a little pipe at intervals.
If it's taller than 2 or so foot height having an engineer design it is a good idea so you get a thickness of concrete that won't get pushed around by the weight of the fill.
We put in post anchors once, when we lived where subterranean termits would eat out your posts quick, for a decorative fence. Every once in a while we'd have to go down the line tightening the fence bolts in the anchors. Steel would be nice and permanent - just make sure they are where you want them cause they are mighty hard to move.

KnKShowmom
Jul. 28, 2012, 09:25 PM
We did dry stack blocks for our ring - filled with #57 gravel and #57/drain tile for drainage.

We did it ourselves and 300' of wall took about 3 weekends - not the most fun I have had but got it done - those blocks are 75# a piece!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=486292301387927&set=a.486291708054653.129230.100000214838897&type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=486291871387970&set=a.486291708054653.129230.100000214838897&type=3&theater

The only thing about poured concrete is the extra expense for forming - with dry stack it was only the footings and build which was much easier.

Blume Farm
Jul. 28, 2012, 09:31 PM
KNKShowMom...can you post a link that is not Facebook...I'm not a member but would love to see how you did this and i too need to have a retaining wall built.

KnKShowmom
Jul. 28, 2012, 09:48 PM
KNKShowMom...can you post a link that is not Facebook...I'm not a member but would love to see how you did this and i too need to have a retaining wall built.

If someone can tell me how - I think you need to be a premium member to directly post pictures....

ReSomething
Jul. 28, 2012, 10:12 PM
Your Fb photos aren't public so I can't see them either. If you upload to flicker, photobucket, webshots, shutterfly, picasa or some others and post a link here we can click and view.

clanter
Jul. 28, 2012, 10:28 PM
Four feet high will have a considerable load... you best have an engineer design the layout.

Here is what a neighbor did, but this was an engineered wall of stacked 80# bags of dry cement that was hosed down after stacked

This wall was placed nearly twenty years ago and still looks the same

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b386/clanter/MVC-009S.jpg

BeeHoney
Jul. 28, 2012, 11:12 PM
I know several people who have built arenas on the sides of hills. I'm not an expert on the engineering aspects, but from what I understand retaining walls are much more expensive and difficult to do correctly compared to just digging and grading out your flat spot from the hill and having the dirt (obviously packed and graded) slope away from the lower side of the arena. It might be interesting to compare quotes for doing it both ways. In regards to a retaining wall, I'd make sure whoever does the work understands that your arena will be like a 'parking lot' in that it will not be absorbing water but that all rainwater will be running off the top of the packed base.

ReSomething
Jul. 29, 2012, 07:22 AM
One of the reasons people put in retaining walls is to use the entire area below it, such as for a parking lot. Having the slope on the downhill side uses up a lot of space and it can be subject to failure, ie slide out. We have about 25 feet of area we can't use for much on the lower side of the pad for the shop. Can't put the horses on it, it's too steep to store anything, too steep to mow except with the push mower, it might be useable for a terraced garden and that's about it.

KnKShowmom
Jul. 29, 2012, 09:43 AM
Your Fb photos aren't public so I can't see them either. If you upload to flicker, photobucket, webshots, shutterfly, picasa or some others and post a link here we can click and view.

Sorry - (I am an idiot) - have changed the album to public so now you should be able to see them.

Jim_in_PA
Jul. 29, 2012, 07:44 PM
A poured concrete retaining wall needs to be properly engineered. It's rare that it's a good DIY job, both for design and for implementation. It also requires a proper footing. Depending on the height, a stacked manufactured concrete retaining wall system can be a good DIY job, but at four feet and above there are again, important engineering considerations as it has to be tied into the hill behind it properly to insure it doesn't collapse over time.

China Doll
Jul. 29, 2012, 10:00 PM
Four feet high will have a considerable load... you best have an engineer design the layout.

Here is what a neighbor did, but this was an engineered wall of stacked 80# bags of dry cement that was hosed down after stacked

This wall was placed nearly twenty years ago and still looks the same

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b386/clanter/MVC-009S.jpg

Thats an impressive wall

China Doll
Jul. 29, 2012, 10:06 PM
A poured concrete retaining wall needs to be properly engineered. It's rare that it's a good DIY job, both for design and for implementation. It also requires a proper footing. Depending on the height, a stacked manufactured concrete retaining wall system can be a good DIY job, but at four feet and above there are again, important engineering considerations as it has to be tied into the hill behind it properly to insure it doesn't collapse over time. When I did mine I was a total amature and did not tie it in. I then had to rent a backhoe did out behind it. I attached some metal rods and had the ends put in concrete. I think I pushed the wall back with my tractor or come alongs I don't remember. mine is over 5' at the corner.
Not sure how to attach a picture as it asks for links.

horsepoor
Jul. 29, 2012, 10:18 PM
Really appreciate the responses so far. Just to reiterate, this is not a DIY job. We aren't out mucking around with a couple of wheelbarrows, bags of concrete, and a hose! With what the arena base and footing alone will cost, we will spend the $ necessary to properly build and protect the site. That means hiring the right people and making sure the design will withstand the load.

On the suggestion to just make a gradual slope rather than wall, that isn't doable for us. It would require that we bring in more dirt (can't cut enough to create that dirt or well be building another wall on the uphill side), plus we would be pushing into the riparian area for a creek, which we cannot do (county regs, plus we like to maintain that space for wildlife anyway).

I like seeing the photos as they at least keep me inspired...I've moved my horses home as I will NOT board again (at least not in this area, devoid of good boarding choices). Without an arena, my horses and I will have to retire, and I'm not quite ready for that!

Valentina_32926
Jul. 30, 2012, 11:12 AM
We used these for a smaller wall (9 foot high but not very long) and will probably use for driveway. Has a "tie-in" backwards to keep wall from bulging outward and looks very nice.

http://www.versa-lok.com/

JB
Jul. 30, 2012, 11:55 AM
There are companies that build the walls at their site, laying *down*, vibrated so the air bubbles move up and out a very short distance (the thickness of the wall, not the height), and then bring the pieces to your site to put together. Because of how this is done, their concrete is about a 5000psi structure, as opposed to the (IIRC) mid-upper 3000 range for traditional poured concrete.

Superior Walls is one and they did our 11' basement walls.

Valentina_32926
Jul. 30, 2012, 12:56 PM
...Superior Walls is one and they did our 11' basement walls.

We have a Superior Wall basement for the house we're building now. Have you had yours long and do you like it? So far I've been impressed.

JB
Jul. 30, 2012, 02:27 PM
Ours is 8+ years old now and it's been fantastic. 1/2 of it is totally underground (red clay), about 1/4 is partially above/below, and about 1/4 is totally above ground. Zero need to apply waterproofing paint or paper, and there has been absolutely no issue with an moisture seeping in.

KnKShowmom
Jul. 30, 2012, 02:57 PM
The biggest factor in our decision to go with a dry stack vs block and mortar wall was the footings - a block/mortar or poured wall with need concrete footings and due to weather conditions at the time, I didn't want a heavy concrete mixer driving into my ring.

The dry stack footings are made with (hand) machine compacted crusher run so other than a bobcat there wasn't any heavy machines in the ring.

Wasn't our original plan to have a DIY project but the waiting list was too long for the contractor we wanted to use so we sucked up and did it ourselves. After years of delays on this ring, DD had her horses at home and we needed a ring asap.