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Re: Dry Stack Rock Wall

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This sounds like a wall with potential stability problems, as you have 10' of retained earth (5'+5'), with a net 6' of batter. The soil mass may move as a unit and fail along a shear plane which encompasses both walls.  If you download some of the information from Keystone walls ( there should be an illustration of the failure plane.

Take a look at:

I looked at designing a wall like this (field stone w/ mortar) for a personal project, though it never got built.   I decided to use a gravity force/friction model at first and found that the wall needed to be several feet thick at the base and/or required lateral ties on about 3' centers vertically (geogrid or similar).

I'm sure this isn't the desired form, but have you offered the option of a concrete or segmental retaining wall with the site stone as a dry-stack veneer?  The cost of the engineering and labor may be less than a true rock wall, with the same visual effect.

At 04:07 PM 9/20/2004 -0700, you wrote:

I have a client that wishes to do some retaining walls for landscaping using rock from the project site.  In one instance there is a lower wall that is 5 high and batters about 2 .  The grade steps back from the top of the lower lift about 2 where the upper lift of wall starts and is also about 5 high with a batter of about 2 .  I would think this can be done, but, I don t have any references that address the design for a dry rock stack retaining wall such as this.  I ve looked through my library and checked the Corps of Engineers site, but didn t see anything there, unless I just missed it.  Does anyone have a reference for this situation or any suggestions?



Joe Grill





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