On this job we embark on quite the backyard renovation, from removing an old fence and asphalt
driveway, to constructing, and pouring new concrete retaining walls and a new contemporary smooth
finish concrete driveway with decorative rock between each panel. Take a look below to see our
Most times a project is started by removing existing material like concrete, or asphalt, and othermaterials like wood decking or fencing. On this project we started by removing a wooden fence that surrounded the perimeter of the property as it was going to be replaced with concrete retaining walls. After removing the fence, we accurately shot elevations with a laser level so we could excavate for footings to begin construction of the retaining walls. During this stage we also removed and hauled away the old asphalt driveway.
After the footings were prepped and poured, we laid out the beginning of the retaining walls and began constructing. Since this retaining wall was also a focal point of the property, we used a high quality form ply to form the walls, using this material ensures a paper smooth finish. For all concrete projects we use steel reinforcement (rebar), using a different size of bar, and grid depending on the project.
During a wall pour we use a concrete vibrator and the method of tapping the forms while placing, to
help achieve a smooth finish with as little flaws as possible. After the newly poured walls have had
time to cure, we carefully remove the forms. We then installed drain tile and brought in drainage rock
for the first layer of backfill behind the retaining wall.
The next phase of this project was to prepare the driveway. What was once a narrow asphalt driveway, will now be a wider smooth finish contemporary concrete driveway. This driveway consists of panels with 2” gaps between, so it can later be filled with decorative rock. Each panel varies in size to somewhat randomize the style.
After completing the driveway prep, we are ready for our third and final concrete pour. To keep the
driveway and walls consistent while maintaining a modern / contemporary look, the driveway was a smooth finish with sharp edges. After the driveway had a day to cure, we then laid out and saw cut relief cuts. These cuts are used as a method to help avoid / control where concrete may crack.
On this project, we gave the driveway an acid wash for the final stage of the concrete process. An acid wash slightly etches the surface of the concrete, which creates more traction and grip. This is great for driveways of steep inclines.
Our final task on this project after back-filling and grading behind the retaining walls, was to install decorative rock in the gaps between the panels of the driveway, and along the wall.
A couple years later we were in the neighborhood and had a chance to revisit this project after the homeowners finished the landscaping and all of the vegetation had a chance to flourish. The concrete driveway and retaining walls have continued curing nicely, and truly fit in with the beautifully overgrown trees.