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Retaining walls built from earth-filled bags...
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Mary-Jane



Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 18397
Location: The Fishing Strumpet is from Ceredigion in West Wales
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 11:10 am    Post subject: Retaining walls built from earth-filled bags...  Reply with quote    

...anyone got any experience of constructing one?

I need to build a fairly substantial retaining wall around the back of my house. I've had a quote from a reputable builder for a concrete block (later to be rendered) wall, which although is a very fair quote, is frankly eye watering when you add in all the costs of labour, digging and materials. I've been chatting to Niall (Katieowl's OH) about it and he thinks I should consider building a wall made of earth filled bags - the theory being that it will look more 'natural' in time (can be covered in grass?), be considerably cheaper and can be done, more or less ourselves, over time.

I'm not averse to the idea, I just wondered whether anyone had any experience of such a project (or knows someone who has) or knows where to find any info on suppliers, construction etc?

JohnB



Joined: 09 Jul 2005
Posts: 685
Location: Beautiful sunny West Wales!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I haven't, but I'm hoping to build some earthbag walls here this year. The plan is to organise some workshops/work parties, so we can learn together.

Frazzled_Barbie



Joined: 26 Sep 2011
Posts: 466
Location: Buckinghamshire
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I helped my dad build a retaining wall years ago now out of old tyres (my cousin worked in a garage - hence the tyres).

There was alots of stamping to be done filling the tyres with dirt, carp and anything else to hand.

The retaining wall was still there years later when they sold the house too.

I have done a quick google, and this has come up, but I am sure there are more examples with better explanations out there too.

http://bristolgreenhouse.co.uk/tyrewalls.html

troyannick



Joined: 24 Dec 2011
Posts: 605

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

its probably the hessian bags , havent actually used them for retaining wall but for a jetty in a lake same principal, building the outer in sandbags then fill the middle in, you can drive steel pins through as you build, dead easy.you could actually seed the bags.

Youd probably need to lean them into the bank about 10 deg.

Mary-Jane



Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 18397
Location: The Fishing Strumpet is from Ceredigion in West Wales
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I understand the principles of the building thing - I'm really after a UK supplier to ascertain costs, delivery and how long it would take. Plus sets of plans/advice sheets.

Bebo



Joined: 21 May 2007
Posts: 12569
Location: East Sussex
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Got much loose stone lying around in your area? If so what about gabions?
http://www.hy-tengabions.co.uk/technical_publications/design_guide.pdf

or you could consider using geo-textiles like this
http://www.geotextiles-geogrids.co.uk/soil_reinforcement.html

alice



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 2820

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Toolstation have started selling gabions, they're in the latest catalogue.

Shan



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 8284
Location: South Wales
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What about using railway sleepers for a retaining wall? We used a combination of sleepers bolted to uni-strut, which was concreted into the ground and it has worked very well.

onemanband



Joined: 26 Dec 2010
Posts: 1473
Location: NCA90
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

http://www.lowimpact.org/linksearthbagbuilding.html

vegplot



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 21298
Location: Ynys Môn
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have a book on earth construction techniques that mentions this method. It should work just fine if you can find enough bags. An alternative is to use rammed earth which uses formers to retain the mix while ramming and therefore does away with the need for sacks.

Either method will need earth that has a clay content to help bind the particles together.

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35907
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

onemanband wrote:
http://www.lowimpact.org/linksearthbagbuilding.html


The Low Impact Living guys are a really useful resource.

This is a how-to http://bristolgreenhouse.co.uk/earthbags.html

vegplot



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 21298
Location: Ynys Môn
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We built a earth bag wall (without cement) at CAT, it was immensely strong.

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35907
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It looks really straightforward. Or am I naive?

vegplot



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 21298
Location: Ynys Môn
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 12 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Chez wrote:
It looks really straightforward. Or am I naive?


It is straightforward just requires a lot of labour.

Ruralnaedowell



Joined: 11 Nov 2010
Posts: 121
Location: Welshpool
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 12 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Use gabions for minimal footprint, though concrete panels between H section steel posts or poured shuttered steel reinforced concrete walls like they use on agricultural buildings are good, cheap and quick.

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