Bevel basics

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Bevels call for very elementary carpentry skills. You construct a series of bottomless boxes, notch them into the hillside, fill with earth, and plant with flowers or ground cover.

For the boxes, buy only construction-heart redwood, construction-heart cedar, or ground-contact, pressure-treated common lumber; anything else will rot away in just a few years. To retard rust, assemble the boxes with galvanized nails, screws, and corner brackets

Excavate bevels carefully, keeping all cuts straight both horizontally and vertically. Set soil aside and use it to fill the planters after you've set them in place.


I Establish a horizontal reference line uith X stakes and string. To carry away runoff, the contours mast cross the slope at a slight angle. Exeat ate to 4 inches or so and lay a 2-foot-uide bed oj crushed rock or coarse gravel. Scoop out a slight depression in the bed of rock and set drilled PVC drainpipe in place.

3 Unroll the sod and tack it with stakes on the uphill ends so that it doesn'/ slide dotal the slope. Water again. After several rainfalls, remove the stakes.





2 Cut Winch plywood into panels 3'/2 inches taller than the height your wall will extend above the ground (the earth below provides the form for the footing). Coat plywood with motor oil for easier removal. Nail studs of 2x4 lumber to the plywood, spacing them 24 inches apart.

3 Assemble the form with end pieces of plywood and interior spreaders of 2x4 wood. Set the form in place, make sure it j' level and plumb, then brace it with outriggers and stakes. Push the form into place with one foot while you drive the stakes.

One way to provide drainage for a retaining wall is to bury perforated drainpipe behind it at ground level. Slope the pipe at least Vs inch per foot.





C Pour the concrete. We built a wheelbarrow y ramp to the top of the form. As you pour, have a helper tamp the concrete to squeeze out air bubbles. After the concrete has set slightly, smooth its surface with a float.

6 After the concrete cures, remove the forms, install perforated drainpipe as shown in the illustration at upper right, then backfill. Cap the wall with brick, wood, or precast concrete coping, if desired. Use the terrace created by the wall for gardening or other activities.


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