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Thread: My Backyard Is Alarming me!

  1. #1
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    My Backyard Is Alarming me!

    My backyard butts up to a retaining wall, and I'm on the high side.

    I have a border of dirt around it, about two feet wide and the yard itself is a concrete pad connected to the house.

    The dirt is squishing up like toothpaste! And last night rose two whole inches over yesterday, along most of its length.

    The wooden border is full, and now topping over.

    I'm not sure who to even call!
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
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  2. #2
    An explosives expert.

    Mario and Luigi, maybe they work from below.

    The mythbusters and tell them there is buried treasure underneath.

    The best thing is to call a construction company or landscaper to see if they have some that jackhammer the thing away and start a new. some the projects you could probably do yourself depending on how up to it you are. Oh this should of been the first question do rent or own, if you own you probably have to go thru the landlord.
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  3. #3
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    I'm having a hard time visualizing this, Don. Do you have any photos you can post that shows us what's going on? I would say you need to call a civil engineer of some ilk, or maybe your municipality/county to see if they have inspectors for such a thing?

    CJSF
    "Find a way to show what would happen
    If you were incorrect
    A fact is just a fantasy
    Unless it can be checked
    Make a test
    Test it out"
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  4. #4
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    By 'dirt like toothpaste" do you mean you've had a lot of rain lately?

  5. #5
    I have felling what happened is when the cement was poured the ground wasn't compacted enough. The cement is pushing down on the ground and the soil has nowhere to go up. So the entire pad has to taken out and ground dug out. A lot of home repair shows like this show them using ground compactors so the soil can take the weight of cement/concrete or whatever you put over it.
    From the wilderness to the cosmos.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    I'm having a hard time visualizing this, Don. Do you have any photos you can post that shows us what's going on? I would say you need to call a civil engineer of some ilk, or maybe your municipality/county to see if they have inspectors for such a thing?

    CJSF
    Kind of my thoughts. Is there a city or county engineers office?
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  7. #7
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    Does the retaining wall have vents low down to let water out?.. it should. The retainer is normally designed for ground not for fill with water. Water can exert ia force to break the wall low down, while dry ground forms bridges.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  8. #8
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    We haven't had rain in months. Since May.

    The immediate area is three townhouses built shoulder to shoulder. Mine is in the middle. I hand water my yard twice a week, but my neighbor to my left doesn't water at all and he now has a rose bush at a 45 degree angle, leaning towards his house.

    Also I went over to the property on the low side of the retaining wall and there are piles of dirt pushing up from under the retaining wall, like gopher mounds. Mainly on my drier neighbor's section.

    Cj, I took pictures but am going to have to wait for one of my kids to show me how to E-mail them to myself.

    By "like toothpaste" I mean the dirt seems to be pushing up like a giant Playdoh fun factory. With the concrete pad and the fence forming the mold. The dirt is straight edged, except in the broader areas where it is forming domes.

    Well, whatever is happening is happening quick. I'm waiting for members of the HOA to come home from work. (I'm the only renter in this complex.)
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  9. #9
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    "Dirt like playdoh" sounds wet, if that's what you mean Don and it hasn't rained in months then maybe an underground water pipe is leaking saturating the soil below the concrete?

  10. #10
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    HOA! Oh no! They'll probably tell you you're not allowed to have dirt.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    We haven't had rain in months. Since May.

    The immediate area is three townhouses built shoulder to shoulder. Mine is in the middle. I hand water my yard twice a week, but my neighbor to my left doesn't water at all and he now has a rose bush at a 45 degree angle, leaning towards his house.

    Also I went over to the property on the low side of the retaining wall and there are piles of dirt pushing up from under the retaining wall, like gopher mounds. Mainly on my drier neighbor's section.

    Cj, I took pictures but am going to have to wait for one of my kids to show me how to E-mail them to myself.

    By "like toothpaste" I mean the dirt seems to be pushing up like a giant Playdoh fun factory. With the concrete pad and the fence forming the mold. The dirt is straight edged, except in the broader areas where it is forming domes.

    Well, whatever is happening is happening quick. I'm waiting for members of the HOA to come home from work. (I'm the only renter in this complex.)
    Well if dry, then the only thing comes to mind is vibration. Dry sand will not extrude, it bridges, but vibrate it and it liquifies. Wet sand is a clay that can extrude . I think it is a sign that merits investigation. Its the retaining wall element that worries me. On normal foundation a concrete slab will float on wet sand because the sand has nowhere to go. But with a cavity to one side? It might just settle or it might continue to subside.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  12. #12
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    And you arenít in a shake-free zone.


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  13. #13
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    Mystery of the cargo ships that sink when their cargo suddenly liquefies
    Not much water need be involved.
    Got a freeway nearby?
    Is the slab tilting on you at all? If so, it might break away from the house.

  14. #14
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    Call the civic authorities, Don. Probably something is coming down from above.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  15. #15
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    I still don't really understand the geometry of the situation. Don, you say you're on the "high side". Does this mean you're on the top of the retention wall? Where's the extrusion coming from? The base of the wall? The edges on top? When you say, "like toothpaste", do you mean it's coming up in tubular extrusions or is it linear, along the edge of the wall?

    CJSF
    "Find a way to show what would happen
    If you were incorrect
    A fact is just a fantasy
    Unless it can be checked
    Make a test
    Test it out"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Put It To The Test"


    lonelybirder.org

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    I still don't really understand the geometry of the situation. Don, you say you're on the "high side". Does this mean you're on the top of the retention wall? Where's the extrusion coming from? The base of the wall? The edges on top? When you say, "like toothpaste", do you mean it's coming up in tubular extrusions or is it linear, along the edge of the wall?

    CJSF
    He's on the high side of the wall, and the extrusions are popping out of the ground at the base of both sides.

    Is this about right Don?
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    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2018-Sep-09 at 05:35 AM.

  17. #17
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    Seems to me, since at least some this is on your neighbor's property, you can work this to your advantage.

    Send them a letter, threatening them with legal action for "theft of your property" (they are literally stealing your property a few pounds at a time).

    And be sure to tell them that the fines will continue to mount the longer they allow this to happen, and that doing it sooner rather than later would prevent further fines, if there's any damage to your house or grounds from the loss of the stolen property.

    I'm only half joking.

    It would be in your best interest to encourage your neighbor to realize (whether honestly or otherwise) that this is as much their problem as yours.
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2018-Sep-09 at 05:34 AM.

  18. #18
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    If it is subsidence, the next stage is a crack in the concrete slab. Technically you, or someone, then monitors that crack, for example with a glass slide epoxy bonded across it, to measure its rate. Underpinning then is required, which is digging and pouring concrete etc. It’s good you are a renter.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  19. #19
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    Don's a renter. I'd be contacting the neighbor, the HOA, the landlord, and the city ASAP.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  20. #20
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    Massive vermin infestation undermining the retaining wall, due in a large part to my birdfeeders.

    I don't feel so good...
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Massive vermin infestation undermining the retaining wall, due in a large part to my birdfeeders.

    I don't feel so good...
    I didn’t think of that! I should have remembered badgers undermining my field boundaries when I had a farm.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Massive vermin infestation undermining the retaining wall, due in a large part to my birdfeeders.

    I don't feel so good...
    Time to call in... The VERMINATOR.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Massive vermin infestation undermining the retaining wall, due in a large part to my birdfeeders.

    I don't feel so good...
    Oops, I would never would of thought of that.
    From the wilderness to the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
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  24. #24
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    Ouch Big Don! On the bright side it beats a sinkhole . You mentioned in earlier posts about rat problems with gardening so I assume the same vermin?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Ouch Big Don! On the bright side it beats a sinkhole . You mentioned in earlier posts about rat problems with gardening so I assume the same vermin?
    Relatives, I'm sure. I caught 27 rats in a month the last time.

    And now that I've stopped feeding them they're attacking my garden.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Relatives, I'm sure. I caught 27 rats in a month the last time.

    And now that I've stopped feeding them they're attacking my garden.
    Do you have friend with a Jack Russel or two?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  27. #27
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    27 rats in a month! You're way ahead of me on my squirrel count. Seems like there should be some sort of city or county ordinance where they step in to eraticate the problem when you exceed 25. ;-) You have my sympathies Big Don.

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