Bulkhead Erosion Control Fix

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Introduction: Bulkhead Erosion Control Fix

This project came to be out of love. My mother's house had a very bad erosion problem in the backyard causing settling issues. This led me to determine that the erosion had to be prevented and must stand the test of time. Her neighbors had the same issue so this turned out to be a very large project in order to fix the erosion everyone was having. Some neighbors already had cracks in their floors.

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Step 1: Planning

I determined the dimensions and marked each property line for the turnbacks. I figured out the material list for each property. I picked up the material I could and had the rest delivered. Then I got to work.

Step 2: Installing the Posts

On average the distance of the property was 50 feet. I spaced the posts out between 4 to 5 feet between each one. I tried different methods from using a post hole digger, an auger and eventually a jetting method using a high pressure water stream to move the dirt in order for the posts to sink. The jetting method was the best method for this application because the majority of the posts were in the water. I created my own using some plumbing pipes and fittings with a high pressure hose nozzle that attached to a hose. I used a string line and level to make sure the posts were in the correct placements. A crowbar and a digging bar helped to make slight adjustments. I made sure the posts were embedded 2 to 4 feet into the dirt/mud. Some of the posts had debris that had to be removed.

Step 3: Installing the Boards

The bottom board had to be jetted into the mud and secured with stainless steel screws. Each board was cut in order for the ends to land on a post. After the first board was secured the rest went in much easier. All boards secured with stainless steel screws.

Step 4: Installing the Top Plate

After installing all the boards on the posts I cut the posts. I used a circular saw and a reciprocating saw. I marked the lines with a speed square. When everything was flush I installed the top plate. I used 2 x 6's for the top plates. I cut a 45 degree angle where the joints connected and made sure each one landed on a post in order to screw them together. All screws where stainless steel.

Step 5: Installing the Deadmen

I used 4 x 4's for the deadmen. "Deadmen" help to anchor the wall in place when building a retaining wall. I used a post hole digger to embed them fully into the ground. Then I drilled a hole through them and installed the appropriate hardware. I used galvanized steel wire rope with turnbuckles, eyebolts and wire rope clips. I tightened everything making sure the wall was level and plumb.

Step 6: Installing the Drainage

I connected all the downspouts to drainage lines that went into the ground and out the wall. I used a hole saw in order to cut the 4" hole in the wall. I made sure the appropriate slope was on each line in order for the water to be able to drain out naturally. I also added a soil barrier between the wall and where the fill dirt was to go. I covered all the hardware as well going from the deadmen to the wall.

Step 7: Fill Dirt and Topsoil

I had fill dirt brought in and then used a wheel barrow to move it into the backyards. Nothing fancy here just a lot of back and forth. I used a water hose and tamper to make sure the dirt was being compacted. It also rained for several days which helped to compact everything. After the fill dirt was complete I brought topsoil in and used a wheelbarrow to bring it to the backyards.

Step 8: Sod

I had sod delivered and then went to work. When the sod was put down we used a sod roller to ensure the sod was making contact with the soil beneath. This is to help the root system form and penetrate the soil.

Step 9: Finished

The project is now complete. My mother and her neighbors were all very happy with the final product. Their erosion was stopped and they even gained square footage to their backyards.

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    20 Discussions

    0
    deanagdefino
    deanagdefino

    8 days ago

    Fantastic! I live on a small creek but with a steep hill that is eroding and taking my yard with it!
    Recently I got a HUGE crack between my front wall and floor. I suspect this erosion could be why! I am working on the huge french drain plan (but with pvc) and then will move to the hillside erosion containment project

    2
    ShamWerks
    ShamWerks

    27 days ago

    Wow, just wow. Impressive work, gorgeous result.
    One question : aren't you concerned about that wood rotting away in contact with the water?

    0
    unetity
    unetity

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thank you very much. Yes, this was and is a concern. The type of water this was going in and the use of marine grade wood provides me an assurance that the life expectancy will be years into the future until additional posts will be necessary. I did review this with everyone beforehand.

    0
    ShamWerks
    ShamWerks

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thank you for your answer. And again, congratulations on a truly awe inspiring project.

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    4 weeks ago

    This is incredibly well done!

    0
    unetity
    unetity

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thank you very much.

    1
    GrahameBudd
    GrahameBudd

    27 days ago

    Impressive. You make it sound easy but I know how hard working with mud and water is, especially at scale. Your end result looks tidy and durable.

    0
    unetity
    unetity

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thank you. And I do not want to mislead anyone; it was some work. Also please be careful working with electric tools around water.

    0
    MJestes
    MJestes

    Question 27 days ago on Step 2

    Tell us more about your water jetting system for moving dirt.

    0
    unetity
    unetity

    Answer 26 days ago

    Hi. Basically I made an attachment that I fitted to a hose. It was about 2 - 3 feet in length and I directed that into the water were the post was to go. The water shot out into the mud and displaced it allowing the posts to sink very easily. Let me know what else you would like to know. It did take some time to figure it all out and how to get it to work correctly but after that learning curve it was a delight. I did take a sledgehammer afterwards as well and gave it a few wacks to really get it in there nice and tight.

    0
    cyberdove1
    cyberdove1

    27 days ago on Step 9

    Great job, and a lot of hard work. I hope you were well compensated.

    0
    unetity
    unetity

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thank you! Knowing I helped my mother and her neighbors was a wonderful compensation ;)

    0
    Gastonone
    Gastonone

    27 days ago

    Looks very, very good and well done.
    Apart ftrom the question already asked, aren't you afraid the bottom soil will wash away and then flysh the soil from the gardens into the water?

    0
    unetity
    unetity

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thank you very much. Yes, this was definitely a concern. I tried various methods at first to keep this from happening and then I spoke to an engineer. I had to sink the first board into the mud. (This was not easy) Another option would be to change the position of the boards from horizontal to vertical and sink them further down if there were any issues. At the moment there have been no issues.

    0
    20-Below
    20-Below

    27 days ago

    Fantastic stuff ! This project clearly brings a huge result to many people. Everything seems well thought thru and uses durable materials. This is more like civil engineering !

    0
    unetity
    unetity

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thank you very much.

    0
    Jerome Morris
    Jerome Morris

    26 days ago

    Really nice work. A HUGE job for anyone. Saved the lots from collapsing into the water, and having the homes sustain irreparable damage. Did you have to pull a permit to work on this project?

    0
    unetity
    unetity

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thank you Jerome. Yes, it was not a small job. A permit was necessary for this. I did not know this at first until an inspector came around and issued a stop work order.

    0
    diebog
    diebog

    26 days ago

    Looks nice, but I don't see that wood lasting to long. In my area the red pressure treat is burial rated but the green isnt. I've seen the green pressure treat rot just as fast as untreated wood. Plus some areas are always in the water. Most situations like this around the lake communities in my location use steel/concrete to accomplish this.

    0
    unetity
    unetity

    Reply 26 days ago

    Thanks so much for your comments. A lot of research went into what wood should be used. Marine grade was used where appropriate and pressure treated elsewhere. I do understand the concern about the wood rotting in the water. I did switch to marine grade on the later projects for the posts as well.