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Garden Dominoes

I have a very steeply terraced garden, with the first terrace nearly as high as the house, and two more levels above that. When we moved in, the so-called “retaining walls” of each terrace were concrete slabs, held in place by friction. I remembered enough of my civil engineering classes to work out that the underlying slope was steeper than the critical angle of soil, and therefore that the whole thing was inherently unstable. I lived in fear of the whole lot cascading down the hill in a thunderstorm and ending up in my kitchen!

Eight years ago, I used a chunk of Christopher’s life insurance money to stabilise most of the garden terracing with steel I-beams and railway sleepers. It really transformed the garden, and I reckon it will take a medium-sized earthquake before any of it moves. However, there is still a stretch of the old concrete slabs in place behind the garage, which were too tricky to replace due to the wall below.

The old retaining blocks remaining to the side of the garage – the bottom of the image is over 2m above the ground.

There was a really heavy downpour overnight on Tuesday, lasting well into the morning. It was so bad that there were flash floods in the centre of Malvern, with the water nearly up to car door sills. After every heavy storm, I always walk around the house looking to see what, if any, damage has been done. And on Tuesday afternoon, I was very concerned to see the state of the retaining wall. I think that the downpour must have washed away some of the soil behind the slabs, as some of them had quite definitely shifted.

A close up of the bit I was most worried about

I sent a worried text to my regular gardener, and asked him to send around two strong men, a ladder, and a couple of lump hammers to put it back in place, before it all crashed down like a pile of dominoes! To his credit, a team of men turned up on Wednesday afternoon and refitted that stretch of the wall together like a jigsaw puzzle. It now looks a great deal more stable, and I hope to be able to survive the next few storms without finding my garden in my garage!

{ 1 } Comments

  1. pauld | 28 September 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    move house quick 🙂

    Those blocks dont appear from photo to be interlocked