beckybabeJune 13, 2005

Ok everyone, I am about to make stones to build retaining walls around my raised beds (sick of edging), and if all goes well I would also like to replace an old retaining wall in the back (made of railroad ties) that levels the yard. I would love to make the bricks of hypertufa so that the moss/lichens could soften the look, but I was under the impression that they break down within a few/five years. Is this true? I could use one recipe for the raised beds and a different, stronger recipe for the wall in the back since it will have a much harder job if that is necessary, but I would like them to "match" if possible. Can someone share a recipe that would be appropriate for both applications? I've made my molds and I'm ready!!

Thank you so much!


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Just in case anyone is wondering, babe was my maiden name, I'm not a porn star!! LOL


    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 4:40PM
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rickharmer(z4British Colum)

AW,ruined my day!!!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 5:05PM
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Hi Becky
If you can get a good understanding of the actual pressure on the existing retaining you would have a good idea how well tufa might work.
Most tufa retaining walls are really 'faux' retaining walls. In other words there isn't a lot of natures forces against them, they are mostly decorative.
A railroad tie retaining wall is an extremely strong wall and might be holding back considerable force.
If that's the case perhaps you could build the tufa wall in from of the railroad ties.:)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 6:02PM
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daisy_ny6(z6 NY)


How high is the wall? Anything over three feet would require an engineer's report in my county. You might also need below the frostline footings.

Tufa blocks should be strong enough for most small walls, especially if you include gravel in the mix.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 7:04PM
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Dena6355(z8 WA)

Debzone8 made 'building blocks' and used them as retaining wall, bordering a walkway and stairs, and it appears in her pictures that it also holds back some dirt. Perhaps you could either write to her, after you look at her pictures to see if that is what you are visualizing.
I have not seen her post here much, she has done wonderful items and they appear to have been thought through.
I hope you will share the process here. Thanks,

Here is a link that might be useful: Debzone8

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 9:02AM
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to debzone8,
I was impressed by the hypertufa containers. Which formula did you use to make the top of the lanterna when using the hosta leaves? I would think that strength would be a major concern.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 2:47PM
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DebZone8(S.Puget Sound)

Thanks ExtAgent. I don't remember the formula but the lantern is sitting right here in my office and it doesn't look like it has any peat in it, which makes sense because I wanted more leaf detail. I almost always use a 1-portland, 3-aggregate mixture, so I'm guessing that I used a 1-portland cement and 3-playsand for this lantern top. No reinforcing material.

Welcome to the forum! Are you a county extension agent?


    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 3:43PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Concrete is stronger than tufa, and moss will grow on it very well.

You might just consider disguising the RR ties by covering with a layer or two of something like chicken wire (anchoring it down securely), leaving some space between it & the RR ties so the concrete or tufa can be worked through and around the wire. It's stronger if the concrete/tufa reaches around the wire and "holds hands".


    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 8:39PM
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Debzone 8

I am an rea horticulture agent in northwest Missisippi. I have only had this position for for a little over a year. I am always looking for new demonstration to present to garden clubs and 4-H groups, and others. I have given some basic hypertufa pot making and am wanting to expand they things I make and demonstrate. Thanks for you reply.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 3:50PM
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please tell me in simple plain english whether HYPERTULFA is strong and durable enough to build walkways and retaining walls. I am new to GARDENWEB and retiring from work next year. I am planning to spend much time on my 1/2 acre gardening and landscapeing. I am excited about using and experimenting with hypertulfa.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 11:44AM
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billie_ann(6b PA)

Rosana, It's Hypertufa. It depends on your climate, your construction ability, the recipe you use. In my zone, I shy away from textured or imprinting on main walkways because of shoveling in the Winter time. But I've got leaf shaped stepping stones and imprinted stepping stones all through my garden. I dry stack my retaining walls so I'm no help to you there. Plain enough! Billie

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 9:01PM
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