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Ideas for building a boundary wall PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 February 2011

One of our readers had some ideas he wanted to run past us about his boundary wall.

I have a pre-cast boundary wall in my back yard I believe is about 60 years old, my neighbours' trees are growing beneath the wall pushing it up, causing it to crack and shift and reshape in many creative ways, coupled with the age as well.

I have thought about a brick wall, the problem is I have a very narrow passage to my back yard, my wheelbarrow won’t even pass through; I also don’t really want all the sand and cement and mess that goes with that. I have also thought of building a gabion type wall with wire and stone, then too a cement fibre board wall, with a light steel frame, so I would use the existing pre-cast as the backing, frame and board in the front and fill the void with sand from the back yard, also I have thought of using soil in my back yard to make a compressed earth wall.

Do you know of any new technologies or other systems I could possibly use to build this wall, I have time, a little money, and an open mind to new ideas.

Thank you for your time and advice.

Les responded as follows:

I think that you have covered most of the options regarding walling. The one issue to be aware of is that fact that trees are always going to be a problem with anything other than a panel wall. My suggestion would be that you retain as many of the existing pre-cast posts as possible and replace the ones that are either out of shape or damaged and construct a new panel wall using a hardwood like Saligna or Balau and treat it with a good quality wood preservative to help it retain its colour.

As far as the options mentioned. A gabion wall is very bulky and only really used as a mass retaining wall. The issue of carrying thousands of stones into your back yard is also going to prove to be a serious task. A gabion wall also cannot be built in a narrow style to make it look like a thickish stone wall as the cages need to have width for stability.

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The fibre cement board option using the 12mm MD Flat sheet, or the 15mm HD sheet, (Depending on budget) or the 10mm Building planks are all options that can be considered instead of the timber option.  

I would not consider the sand fill option as your support structure needs to be quite strong to retain the sand. The sand option would also need to have around 10% cement mixed with it. The rammed earth option requires strong shutter support and the material is a particular mix of certain sand and clay and needs a specialist with rammed earth experience to build. The one option that you have not mentioned is the "dry-stack" building block option. I do not know if these are available in your area but it would be just like building with Lego. You do however need a concrete foundation for this type of wall and your trees would still be a problem.

I hope that this helps. If you have any further queries, please give me a call.


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