patio retaining wall project

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Time posted: September 29, 2006

In late March we got a new concrete patio poured. We already have a covered back porch, but this is just another sort of “outdoor room” where we can do things. We weren’t getting good use out of the yard space, so this seemed like a good upgrade.

The grade was such that I wound up with the outside corner of the patio hanging about 6 to 8 inches above the existing grade. Besides looking weird, it was kind of a nuisance and I was worried about the slab breaking off, since the gravel beneath was slipping out from below.

So I noticed that a Kmart that was changing to a Sears locally had retaining wall stones on super clearance, so I grabbed a load of them without doing much calculation beforehand (not the best approach). I wound up with 56 one-foot bricks, which is enough for a 28-foot wall two courses high, or an 18-foot wall three courses high. I paid about 40 bucks. Then I added the top row, it cost a little over 50 bucks using a discount card that Lowe’s sent me in the mail.

I only needed two courses to account for my grade change around the patio, so I measured off a 28-foot length of garden hose and made a mark, then set out to see what kind of interesting shape I could make.

I wound up with this:

patio layout with a hose
smoothly curved line with a hose

This covers up the outside corner, hiding the worst grade change, but leaves an area to step off the patio directly into the yard on both edges. Plus the radius is 3 foot, well within what the bricks can do. I liked the way the straight portion and the radiused parts helped to soften the corner of the patio.

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