Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Retaining Wall Construction Begins

Spring came to 3283 in full force today. I was awakened by lightning and thunder before 6:00 this morning. A band of thunderstorms passed through West Michigan. It was relatively intense, but also relatively short. By 8:30 it was just a sprinkle...by 9:30 the sky had cleared. The afternoon turned gorgeous. Sunshine and warm weather. Inland Holland reached the lower 80s. It was probably mid-70s at the lake.

And with the warm weather came the construction of the retaining wall and steps. The work started mid morning...once the weather cleared. When we had the heavy rain a couple weeks ago, water and sand found their way into the basement. To temporarily solve the problem we filled much of the slope to the entry door. Dan Deitz sent one of his guys to help with the rescue. He dumped yards of sand in the slope to the entry.  So, the first task today was to remove that extra soil and begin recreating the slope to the door.

The retaining wall work is being done by a company called the Aesthetic Gardener, owned by Mervin Hochstetler. Mervin and his helper, Dan, worked on the project today. And they had a great tool to move the sand. The project has seen a number of excavation tools. Today's was the smallest. But, it was just right for the job. And I can see it being used for many landscaping tasks.

The gadget is called a Toro Dingo. It's a stand up rubber tracked end loader.
Just what every big boy needs once he graduates from the sand box.
The Dingo cut the slope easily.
And....it really looked like fun.
The Dingo got very close to the wall/footing.
But, Dan still needed to do some shovel work.
Once the slope was somewhat recreated, Mervin spent some time calculating the size of the base area and the width/tread of each step. The rise will be equal to the thickness of one timber -- about 5 1/2 inches. Then the base was leveled and the first few timbers put in place. Mervin and Dan took care that each board was square and level.

Dan is leveling out the area at the base.
It was good to be able to look out the basement door again.
Mervin checks level on the first timber to be installed.
The timber retaining wall will be tiered on the north and south sides. And the steps will form the tiers to the east. To build them required lots of cutting, fitting spiking and more shoveling.

Dan cut amazingly square cuts on the timbers with a chainsaw.
You can see the stairs taking shape as Mervin uses a sledge hammer to set spikes.
After a few courses of timber were installed Dan began to
back fill between the  retaining wall and the basement foundation.
The guys worked their way up each side of the structure. They are about one or two levels below the height where the terracing will begin. while there is a lot of work left by the end of the day I was able to get a good picture of what the final product will look like. Stay tuned, there will be progress pictures tomorrow.

At the end of the day walls and steps started to take shape. 

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