Locust Retaining Wall (Lower)

Since the beginning we have always wanted a retaining wall at the base of the hillside.  We added a drainage swale years ago in front of a persimmon tree to eliminate some run-off through the horse corral, but dirt would fall in.  Ideas were suggested for a retaining wall, such as steel beams and cement board, and estimates for redwood were overpriced.  Using black locust is the perfect solution since we’ve used it successfully for garden beds, perennial borders, and fencing.

On Sunday, we worked to place 3 ft. locust log sections into place along the wall of the drainage ditch.  First things first.  Two months ago, we had a small tractor service clear the area and contour the lower hillside.

On Saturday, July 11, we had 3 Black Locust trees cut down to use the wood for 2 different retaining walls. Fortunately, their bobcat moved the wood.

Now, after more hand-digging of the hillside and swale, the logs were ready to maneuver into place.  The bobcat, unfortunately, did a number on peeling off bark so the logs were placed with the bark facing out when possible.

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At a certain point, the 3 foot logs were all used. The lower (thick) trunks of the locust trees were purposefully cut for this project, while the upper limbs were designated for the greenhouse retaining wall.  All parts of the trees were strategically cut per our specifications.


It takes 11 logs per 10 ft. section so it’s amazing how many are needed.  Fortunately, we had 15′ long pieces for the greenhouse retaining wall that were this thick size, so we cut up two logs which we will add next week.  We’ll go from there to see what else needs to be cut.



In this picture where the tree and cow are located, the wall will wrap around to the garden fence, with a walkway/pathway leading up to the hillside and greenhouse.  We have to terrace the hillside by hand since the small tractor would not make it up the hill.  It is a work in progress, as usual.