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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a picture of the yard I want to build in, but not sure how to post it in here.
Basically wanting to build a stone ring (retaining wall) around a tree. That is on a hill!:confused: For a simple loop to get started with. There will be quite a bit of fill and I'm not sure what to use, easier to haul in loads of lime than dirt this time of year. For the base layer of rock, a fellow club member suggested I dig a trench and tamp in some of this lime. I have a picture of another layout with a Mogul in it that is similar to what I want to acheive...
So my question is....
What else needs to be done before cementing or mortering stone? Weed fabric, drainage pipe or gully on the downhill side I thought etc.
 

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This sounds like you are going to fill in around the tree trunk, not a good idea, often kills the tree.
 

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Knowing the soil and moisture conditions in Little Egypt you will absolutely need to place drainage behind any wall you decide to build. I'd like to see your photo of the location before I offer any other advise..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just paid 1st class membership, got 100mb on the server and uploaded the pics there...now what?


kill the tree eh?
 

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Try this..






I just posted your pic using what I just showed you.

Bubba
 

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Here's your other pic that you tried to post:



The only thing you need to add is [img*][/img*] (and leave out the *) before and after your source code and the pics will appear.
 

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Looking at your photos, I would suggest that you might want to consider a trestle for the front lower section of your circle! You could add some fill on the sides without harming the tree and the trestle would add some real visual excitement to your layout! Here's an example:

 

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Yep, there's that fine Southern Illinois soil.... Equal parts clay and weed and grass killer.. (kidding).

I'd have to agree with Steve, if you build up a wall and infill you may kill off your tree. That may be more likely if you infill with lime as you stated. The soil quality is poor enough, I'd add pete and compost (more organic material) before I'd add any more mineral. IF you did do the wall (note the big if) you would ost definately need to incorporate drainage. Our neighbor had a retaining wall installed on his driveway and regraded his yard when I was a kid. It was fine till the spring monsoon season hit. The entire wall collapsed, burying his wifes car in the process, after a big rain. The hydraulic pressure behind the wall was to blame. New wall incorporated weep holes, a gravel bed and drainage tiles, as far as I know it's still there 35 years later.

Best of luck, keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·


As you can see, the hill is steep! Mostly roots from that dang old gumball tree /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif

Do I need anykind of underlayment for weeds? Heck there isn't even any grass there. I think that would definately hurt the tree/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/ermm.gif
 

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You could always build a raised layout.



You can extend the "deck" out to the side and add buildings and scenary. This will also be lower maintenance(dirt and weeds overtake your layout) and not kill your back.
It is also nice to sit next to it and see the engines "running" with all the linkages.

Andrew
 

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I agree--if you pile a bunch of dirt and pavers around the tree you'll maybe injure it, and you don't want to dig a trench around it because you'll harm the roots.

You could build a circle using the "ladder" method. There are a lot of posts about it in the archives. It's pretty easy to do and it makes a stable base that sits at grade and is real easy to make level.

http://www.btcomm.com/trains/primer/roadbed/ladder1.htm

It's a great method, extremely easy to level. The inventor used HDPE lumber, which was expensive and hard to find. I've built it two ways, using two different materials.

First with Trex--you get a 2x4 made from trex or similar composite lumber. You rip 3/4 off each side, then take the center post that remains and slice part of it for spacers, and use the rest for posts. Advantages: Looks good, solid, no waste, simple. disadvantages: a little pricey, will not bend to less than a 8 ft (R3) curve without breaking, needs to be drilled or it can snap screws or crack.

Second with "tuf-board" from Home Depot and PVC pipe. My local Home Depot sells two composite lumber/PVC products that work well. The first is called "tuf-board" and comes in 1x8 lengths. It's easy to work and inexpensive and can be painted. The second has no brand name--it's some kind of PVC or vinyl. It's very flexible and comes in 12 foot lengths. It's really good if you need to make 4 ft RI curves, but it's a bit floppy. With both methods you cut spacers (I used a chop saw) and then I used PVC pipe as the support post. Advantages: Cheap, easier to bend and work. Disadvantages: less attractive, requires painting

This link has some pictures taken early on:

http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/magic/westover/index2.html

The track in the foreground of the first image is supported on tufboard, the track in the background is supported on trex

You can add trestles, bridges or other forms of viaduct later
 

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Given your location, I would also suggest making the effort to put in a ladder system and making sure your posts go below the frost line so you dont get any heaving in the wintertime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks guys.... Hey Torby, you'll see my yard Gnome next weekend. I am inclined to take Steve's advice on the lower half of the hill. And maybe run the lower line of stone back in a horseshoe type pattern. In this pic you see the lime pile the boys play in and it's where I want to have the waterfall feature. Then run a river along the driveway all the way around the tree.


I am only talking about a trench like 2 inches deep and just skipping the roots. I am 8' from the tree and don't think I'll have much trouble if I do use an organic landfill....? I will re-route the stone in more of a pattern I am thinking and re post soon. Keep the ideas coming from all you "experts" it really helps and I am thankful for all and any ideas you have!
 

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If you fill the low side of the area, only bring it up to level with the existing dirt line at the tree! Anything above that may cause damage to the trunk via insects and more likely rot.

The root system will over time work its way back to the surface, but could/may also sustain damage due to oxygen starvation if the fill is compacted heavily while your building the railway.

You'll see at a minimum a weaker tree on the raised bed side for at least 2 to 3 years, meaning the canopy will be diminished, and possibly paler in color. With the tree in stress it will also be more suseptible to diseases and insects during this time so watch for that.

Good luck with whatever you do...

Mark
 

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Alas. My boys got scheduled for something else next weekend and won't be there. Just me.

Susan measured them Saturday while I was there. They are both 5' 9 1/4" given they're 16 months apart.
 

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I wouldn't dig a trench at all. Just lay the ladder down and then put ballast around it if you like. Ballast is water and air permeable so it'll do less to the tree. Also having the track up off the ground even the 2 inches or so you get with the ladder method makes it much much easier to deal with debris on the tracks. You just brush it off
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
well, now my wife thinks the limestone rocks look like Flinstones did it and thinks I should use a more natural brownish stone. Well......well...... the only way to achieve this is the local landscaping joint and I'm not paying Big $$$ for a pallet of rocks! Looks like I am going to have to hit the local creeks around here with the pick up truck...uuuuugggghhhh! I told her I could paint them brown later but she don't think it will work or that I have the talent to pull it off. OH Ye of little Faith I say, hehe. Talk to me guys, who out there has improvised and colored some stone before? HELP!
 

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One of Garden Railway's books and I believe it's one of Jack Verducci's chapters has a section on painting and shaping rock to acheive your design criteria. I beleive it was the "Garden Railroading, Getting started in the Hobby" title. I have not painted any but don't see why it wouldn't work!!;)

Good luck

Mark
 
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