We’ve been seeing a lot of posts about fire pits and outdoor living spaces now that the weather has definitely started to warm up. Since it’s only the beginning of summer, and I’m already melting, I think this summer is going to be a hot one! With a nice hot summer, there comes a lot of outdoor entertaining along with relaxing under the cool summer nights. So it’s not really all that bad! If you have ever lived in a home where there is a large hill, you know the importance of retaining walls. They aren’t always the best looking thing, but they do keep your house safe in the case of a landslide. You just hope your wall is strong enough to hold back the earth that’s coming down with the rain. An Imgur user recently posted pictures of his gigantic project. I’m sure he regretted taking this on by himself once he started, but the outcome certainly made it all worth it.
He’d been wanting to work on this wall for a while. He didn’t think of taking any before pictures when he first started, but then remembered about halfway through. He started by making a base that was made out of cement and approximately 17 inches in width and 35 inches tall. The total length of the bottom level was measured out to be 21 feet in a crescent shape to fit into the hill perfectly.
He reinforced everything with cement because the wall had to be extremely strong. The hill slowly moved because it contained a lot of water, which causes the ground of his property to be extremely wet all of the time. Because of this, he had to add a drain to the wall as well.
With the project, he wanted it to obviously look nice. Nobody wants to look out at a DIY project that they’re stuck with and not be happy with it. He also wanted to make it a place where he could go out and relax by a cozy fire. Considering he only had two requirements, he seemed to be in pretty good shape.
Once he got the ground leveled and supported with concrete, he purchased a large amount of yellow sandstone and began by building a bench. He reinforced the bench with concrete. During this process, he also added some electrical pipe so he could install more lights later on down the road.
So far this is what the bench looks like from his house. Now you can see why it would be an eye sore if the project didn’t work out. I hope he spoke with his local inspectors to make sure everything was up to code. I might be a little nervous if I was that house above his property.
As he was building, he realized that his bench probably wasn’t going to be strong enough to hold up the hill, so he came up with the idea to build up the back support on the bench. He did this using cinder blocks, steel beams, and cement.
He continued to add more cement and more rebar to make sure everything was as strong as it possibly could be. There was a lot of cement involved in this project.
The support was finally completed. You can see that he ended up building up the back support quite a bit to fit well into the hill, giving it as much support as possible.
He had three different levels to sit on and decided to cover all of these levels with the yellow sandstone that he purchased.
He continued to mortar layer by layer filling in the spaces as much as he could.
This part of the project took a very long time, but you can see that it’s coming along nicely.
That’s a lot of yellow sandstone he had to mortar in place, but the detail he paid to each piece really paid off, giving the overall wall a great finished look.
He’s so close to being done. You can see the gray electrical conduit sticking out. That’s great that he planned ahead with the electrical so he wasn’t stuck drilling through all of the concrete or digging through the hill.
It’s definitely coming along though and soon he’ll have three different levels of comfortable seating.
You can already tell this will be a great place to relax and enjoy spending time with your loved ones.
The bench has finally been completed, and it looks really great!
He even placed sandstone on the top parts of the bench to give it a more finished look. He mounted a box on the side to help with power cable management.
He added brown joint so that it blended in with the sandstone to fill in the cracks. You want the seats to be somewhat flat, as much as you can when using stone.
He saw that there was some raw space at the bottom of the bench and he decided he didn’t like that and wanted to fix it, so he laid out rocks to outline his design.
To level the ground he started digging. He pulled up the grass and rock that were there creating a flat surface for his idea.
Once it was level, he added a new base using stones and made sure it was level.
This is the beginning of his much awaited fireplace. The project wouldn’t be complete without this.
He wanted to make sure the ground was level where his fireplace would go or else that could be a pretty terrible design.
Once the fireplace was set in place, it was time to start using concrete and stone to create a floor that he was happy with. This would also fill in the small gap between the bench and the ground.
Here is another tedious task. Lots and lots of fitting and gluing rocks to create the best floor he possible could.
He finally fished the project and it looks great!
At a later time, he’ll work on adding the electrical so he can have lights rather than tiki torches, but the tiki torches are a nice touch. I think I would keep them and add the lighting so there are plenty of options depending on the mood.
He filled the fireplace with stone and covered the edges with cement.
This looks like a great place to relax, and considering how much concrete he used on the project, I don’t think the wall will be moving anytime soon. It’s great that he was able to build this himself and since it’s right in his backyard he can go back there and enjoy it at any time. I’d like to see the project once it is 100% done with the electrical. I wonder what kind of lighting he would put in? This would be a great place to build a pagoda for shade, where you could string lights through for an added brightness. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.