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Retaining walls can make a spectacular improvement to the outside appearance of your home, adding interest and individuality. Treated pine logs let you create landscaping with flair and originality, while retaining the strength and practicality that is an essential requirement of an outdoor building material.

Preparation and Planning

Landscaping your garden by building a log wall will greatly enhance your home if done correctly. Prepare by first making a rough sketch of the type of wall you want and note where any access gaps, gates or steps will be, then transpose accurate measurements to help estimate log quantities. Keep designs simple and take into consideration land contours. Logs give a bold effect, so use large ones rather than smaller ones. They look better and are less work.

Tools For The Job

The following tools are recommended to complete the project:

  • Square
  • Plumb-bob
  • Crowbar
  • Post hole digger
  • Crosscut saw
  • Hammer, drill and bits
  • Shovel
  • Pencil, tape measure and Builders Line

Always keep tools and materials away from children. Wear gloves when handling treated pine poles and wear an approved dust mask when cutting, planning or sanding timber. Always read and follow any instructions for your project.

Precision Treated Pine Logs

Precision logs are uniform in dimension and smooth along the entire length. This makes it easier to achieve an even look and quicker to build.

Treated pine logs give so many design possibilities. Choose from smooth precision logs with a constant diameter to butt together perfectly for a precise, uniform finish; easy stacking winged split logs and slabs; economical sleepers; popular split rounds; and general purpose rounds with a natural taper and a rough finish for a rustic appearance.

Spacing The Posts

Using builder’s line and stakes mark the centre line of the upright posts that will support the wall. Do not encroach onto footpath or roadway. Logs to be laid horizontally must be in the centre back of the uprights making it easier to fix in place with no visible front joins. Dig postholes 600mm deep. Check clearance behind posts to fit horizontal logs.

Setting The Posts

Holes should be clean and straight. Shovel a layer of coarse rubble into the base for drainage. Measure and cut posts to length. Embed posts vertically, side and back. Fill with pre-mix concrete 100mm below ground level. Temporary bracing with timber struts ensures posts remain vertically plumbed. To prevent leaning, build with a backward slope of 2 degrees. Check with spirit level, adjust if necessary.

Placing Logs

Place bottom line of horizontal logs into position ensuring ends meet in centre of upright posts. End posts should have logs level with outer circumference. Fix logs to post using bolts working from the bottom. (For perfect alignment set top rail first and work to ground level.) Continue placing lines of logs hard against posts reversing thick and thin levels; however this should be unnecessary with precision logs. At required height, posts should be level with each other and the top line secured with fasteners.

Drainage

If necessary provide a granular drainage layer behind the wall around perforated poly pipe. Allow fall to run-off to a disposal point.

Helpful Tips

  • You may need permission from your local council, and/or water and power authorities before this work is carried out. They should be contacted before you start.
  • Use galvanised fastenings. They won’t rust and stain logs.
  • Mitre cut logs if there are corners in your wall and/or pin with long screws or nails.
  • Drill slightly undersized holes if fastening with bolts, it keeeps work rigid.
  • Plants beautify your wall and help prevent erosion.
  • Bed logs should be a minimum of 100mm diameter by 900mm long.
  • Low non-load bearing walls do not need inward slope to compensate for deflection.
  • To prevent leaning, build with a backward slope of 2 degrees.
  • For large hillside areas a series of low retaining walls is less likely to move than a single high wall.

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