Laura's Backyard Renovation: Building a Wall

Renovation Diary

The retaining wall.
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Name: Laura Watson
Type of Project: Outdoor renovation
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Type of building: Semi-detached shop front/cottage with 1200 sq. ft. backyard

The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

This week we installed the small retaining wall behind which we will plant three espalier citrus trees. The plan is that this small retaining wall will provide some protection for the young trees from the dog, and also will make a nice feature and help frame the lawn.

These bricks are super easy to install - they stack on top of each other and have a small lip on the rear to keep them in place.
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We’ve chosen a Boral paver called ‘Litewall’ because it is one of the easier ones to install; the pavers simply stack one on top of the other and have a small lip on the rear to lock them into place.

Colour choices.
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I was tossing up between the ‘Tuscan’ (left) or the ‘Almond’ (right), but chose the Almond in the end because I liked the contrast with the charcoal pavers in the entertaining area, and it’s a closer match to the colour we selected for the garage.

Preparing the area.
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The wall will be approximately 8 meters long and 30 centimeters high (2 bricks). Delivery would have been about $200, so we decided to collect the bricks, thinking we could stack them into the back of our car for the short ride home. However, the salesman at the paving centre told us we would exceed the maximum weight that can be legally carried in a passenger vehicle. We decided to head up the road to the nearest trailer hire place and rented a trailer for $50, still making a good saving on the delivery estimate.

We ran thick black plastic along the fence to protect it from any damage.
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Concreting the posts which will support the espalier citrus trees.
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More prep work - leveling sand.
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We unloaded all the pavers and started the prep work, which involved setting the levels, laying protective black plastic along the fence to prevent it from degrading. and using the leveling sand left over from the entertaining area to ensure a flat foundation. Then we concreted in the support posts from which we will run the wire for espaliering the citrus trees. As with the paving, once all the prep work was done, the bricks went down really quickly! It is so satisfying to see some major elements of the final design being completed!

The finished wall!
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Estimated time for project: 8 weeks
Time remaining: 4 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us tomorrow for installment #8 of Laura's Backyard Renovation.

(Images and diary text: Laura Watson)