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Thread: Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

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    Crickets's Avatar
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    Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

    Hi! We will have a large retaining wall around three sides of our pool (the side near the house and two sides) and it will be tall. About 5-7 feet tall at the biggest side. Anyway. My question is what type of railing should I put around the top of my retaining wall? Our pool steps down into the retaining area but the rest of our yard is level w/top of retaining wall so don't want anyone falling over down the wall!

    At first we liked the idea of building planters around the top--but worried it wouldn't prevent a fall? Also worry a rail might not look as nice and a fence we think would be overkill.

    I'd love to see pictures of what others have done and/or hear your suggestions!

    Thank you!
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    Re: Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

    not sure what kind of look you're going for but here's our railing around the pool which is fairly contemporary (round top bar with flat/wide inner bars. (Ignore the rust and clutter - busy with twins so haven't been able to maintain the way I need to)
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    Re: Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

    If you live in an area with building codes, they'll tell you what you need for a railing. You may even need to provide structural calcs since it will serve more as a guardrail than a handrail.

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    Crickets's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

    Hi! I'm still looking for ideas on a type of railing for our retaining wall. (We already have a fence around our yard so are good there). I had hoped nothing would be needed--so I could think about it and do something in the spring time--but our PB is confident the inspector will require we have something now. Here are some pictures of the wall. Any tips/ideas/pictures/suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!





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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

    If it is not a code required railing I would consider planting a hedge there
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    Re: Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

    Unless you are required to install something at most I'd go with is a hedge.
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    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

    I'd be tempted to do nothing if not required by code.... Some nighttime lighting may help too along the top of the wall.....
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    Re: Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

    It doesn't look like you have a whole lot of depth up there to work with. I also could see you wanting to maintain the ability to walk between the stairs and the retaining wall. I believe a hedge may impede that walkway and could be something that adds to your overall yard maintenance. It will need trimmed, mulched, etc. This may not be a big deal but just some thoughts on the hedge. They do look nice when well maintained and chosen/sighted properly. If you look at the link below, in the 3rd section from the bottom, there are pictures of aluminum fencing installed along the top of retaining walls with height variations, similar to your situation. Aluminum fencing will need practically no maintenance, not reduce visibility much and looks great. The con will be price, but it's only money right?

    I do feel that with the potential for children or a less able-bodied person to fall (and onto a hard surface) that something to safeguard the area would be appropriate. That or an umbrella insurance policy (which you should have anyway).

    http://www.ifenceusa.com/customfence.php
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    Re: Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

    I suspect that the city of Lexington requires building permits for the installation of your pool and the retaining wall (given its height the longest part appears to be at least 5 feet high - including the footing). Both of those permits likely should have been done at the same time. The retaining wall design, if a permit was applied for, should have specified a fence at the top that any inspector is going to want to see.

    Just to give you some reading for thought, you might want to take a look at the following link from Allan Block, which describes the challenges of a fence at the top of a wall. Toppling of the top courses is your biggest issue.

    http://www.allanblock.com/newsletter...ws-issue7.aspx
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    Re: Ideas for railing at top of retaining wall?

    Nice link!
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
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