Wood Retaining Wall Constructed Entirely By Hand #ThrowbackThursday

throwback Thursday recalls a wood timber retaining wall in belleville miToday we’re going to take a look at a retaining wall construction job we did for a property on Belleville Lake, in Belleville, MI. Located in Wayne County, Belleville Lake is a man-made lake about 2 square miles in size. It was created in 1925 by the Eastern Michigan Edison Company, who made it by damming the Huron River. Fun Fact: While the lake is used primarily for fishing and boating, the dam itself has a limited number of certain species of fish, and has completely eliminated a mussel fishery that produced mother of pearl to make buttons in the early 1900s.


No Machines? No Problem! We Built This Wall With Our Handswood retaining wall on belleville lake

This was an interesting job for two reasons: 1) it was on a pretty severe slope (as you can see from the pictures), and 2) due to this slope, we had absolutely NO machine access! That’s right, we did the entire retaining wall job manually! Aside from some tools, like a one man power auger, everything was done manually using the experienced hands of our skilled construction team. We are extremely proud of this job for that very reason!

The Importance of Building This Retaining Wall

This wood timber retaining wall construction job was a big oneThis particular project was a wood retaining wall, made with 4 x 6 treated lumber. We used 3/4” threaded rod tie backs to the 5/16 thick 8” wide heavy duty I-Beam anchors to ensure the wall was sturdy and would hold – especially on such a steep slope. In fact, the reason we were called in for this job in the first place was because the homeowner had noticed some signs of movement in his pool and garage, which are upland of the slope. Due to the ground changes throughout the often extreme seasons of the year that we experience here in Michigan, something had to be done before the coming winter. Otherwise, both the pool and garage would sustain significant damage which would be very expensive to attempt to repair.

In instances like these, wood retaining walls are a great choice because they have the capacity to hold an extraordinary amount of backfill pressure. A sturdy wood timber wall can be very effective at preventing any downslope movement or shifting of your property.

The Final Product: A Sturdy Wood Retaining Wall

The wood timber retaining wall we constructed ended up being about 90’ in length and 6-8’ in height (height varied at different points in the wall). Since the entire job was done manually and without the use of machinery, it took us approximately two weeks to complete the retaining wall install, which we then backfilled with pea stock using a wheelbarrow. While this job took a lot of physical labor, we are very happy with the end result, and so is our customer – which, after all, is what’s most important!

This wood retaining wall presented some extra challenges
Side view of our sturdy wood retaining wall we built by hand


Whether it’s a wood retaining wall like the one pictured here, or an actual seawall that you need constructed for your waterfront property, you can be sure that Seaside Seawalls can deliver! We offer a wide range of services to our customers, and would be happy to hear from you about your marine construction needs. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today!


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