Landing Perfect With Landscape Timbers

by Darren Hanson

Each time I would build a retaining wall I would think to myself there has to be longer lasting way? Yet these timbers just don't last very long before they start warping out. So I gathered my years of construction and landscaping experience together and combined the two as I built my first prototype flower bed of eight feet long, three and a half feet wide by three feet high. This was in 1992 when I built this still standing and non-warped flower bed.

To do this you start out with the material you need to complete the bed, in this case it took twenty landscape timbers (this includes my miss cuts). Starting at the lowest point you cut the timbers to size insuring that it remains level for the next timber.

Starting with the second timber laying on top of the first, insure it is level as well. Pre-drill 1/8 inch holes approximately every ten inches apart, starting with the first one you drill about two inches from the end. No matter how close you are to the end for the last hole make sure still leave one about two inches from the end, the ends are most important to keep the timbers from warping. Be sure you drill the holes all the way through to about the center of the bottom timber.

To nail them you will want to use eight inch pole barn nails that are one quarter inch in diameter. Repeat this process off setting the third nail holes to about one inch from the ends and about twelve inches apart until you get the height you are looking for. I would not suggest much more than three feet with out the use of what they call a dead man brace (that is another story).

After toping off with the last timber insuring all timbers are exactly as you want them the next step is to drill a couple of weep holes in the lower section of each side of the walls about one inch off the ground and about half an inch in diameter. After they are drilled out you need to take a piece of half inch pvc pipe about eight inches long and hammer into the holes flush with the outside edges. Next take a piece of landscape weed fabric about three inch square and wrap it around the end of the pipe and tie it of with a bread wrapper or something similar.

After this is complete take a tube of liquid nails and fill each seam between the timbers up to the seam that is above your weep holes. After the liquid nails is dry (about half an hour depending on the weather) you will need to back fill the bed with top soil just to the top of the pipe you installed for the water drainage. Next you need to the rest of the seams with liquid nails and be sure to get them all as this is the final secret to keep them from warping out. After they have dried take more weed fabric and drape it over the wall and down into the bed to cover the existing soil you just filled in. After the fabric is laid in and draping over all four sides back fill the rest of the bed with your preferred top soil or planting soil to the second timber from the top. Cut the remaining fabric off with scissors or knife just on the top of the second from the top timber. Next you will plant your flowers and enjoy a flower bed like the one I have watched very closely over the past twelve years and have seen no signs of warping or rotting.

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About the Author

Darren Hanson is Landscaper and writer who just enjoys helping others overcome some of lifes why's.

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