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Building a border around my yard

Posted by lostsoul62 6 (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 8:47

I'm using timbers which are 3"x4"x8' around my entire yard which is about 250 feet. I do not want to use rebar, and I only want to use one timber high. I will lay them on soft dirt. Should I put down sand or do I need to pack the dirt? Do I need to put them together with a hinge screwed on the backside because I don�t want it on the topside? They are heavy so they should sink into the dirt up to a half an inch to be solid. Any advice on how I need to do this because I really don�t want to screw this up because I�m putting in a lot of time and money.

This post was edited by lostsoul62 on Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 8:50


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Building a border around my yard

What's it for? This will look terrible, won't work and won't hold up. Timbers (3" x 4" could barely be considered such) curl and warp when in contact with moisture. If you're trying to solve some problem, this "solution" is more likely to create one.


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RE: Building a border around my yard

Please post a picture with your goals...this sounds like a potentially expensive, bad idea.


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RE: Building a border around my yard

you can use a lap joint and face screw. or a finger joint and plug the top with a wood dowel.

means of attatchment could be by placing an embedded post on the back side and face screwing.

using sand in laying your grade beam ( which is what this sounds like due to the size of the timber) will help with as a leveling agent, whether it is partially buried in a shallow trench or sits ontop of the soil.

your borders sound a little chunky but that may be the look you are going for.

the methods I describrd above are used when we build wood framed bocce ball borders or just want a beefy border.


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RE: Building a border around my yard

deviant-deziner, this is off topic, but your picture is interesting. What are those bowl stumps next to the chairs? Maybe there is plexiglass over them for a solid table spot?


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RE: Building a border around my yard

desertdance,
they are just plain old redwood logs / trees ( native to the area) that were cut up for simplified side tables.

we've used this design at a local outdoor dining room / waiting room at a local brew pub. Rustic but trendy when paired with the right furniture and other exterior elements.


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RE: Building a border around my yard

These timbers are big and strong and make a nice looking boarder. I just have to figure the best way to put them in?


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RE: Building a border around my yard

You have not yet said what the purpose of these is. Are they a border that separates turf from other planted areas?

In spite of the encouragement you've received, I stand by my first comment. These timbers are not treated for ground contact and they will not hold up when in contact with same. Within one year's time they will be food for fungus and termites. Within two years, they will be coming apart, especially if they are in a single layer. People use them all the time, but they do not hold up. They are meant to be in a situation where they can completely dry after every rain. (They hold up much better if painted, also.) Neither do they make good posts.

You'd be better off to explain your needs and get advice as to how those needs might be.


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RE: Building a border around my yard

These borders are over 10 years old. Of course I stain them and these aren't going to be bury in the ground. They will last a long time. If you look at my back yard you will see where they go, about 5 feet from the fence in order to keep all the mulch in and do what a border is suppose to do.


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RE: Building a border around my yard

would putting this on the side work? I wonder if it would be an eye sore by putting them on the top like in the picture?


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RE: Building a border around my yard

I think Deviant-Designer answered your question

"you can use a lap joint and face screw. or a finger joint and plug the top with a wood dowel.

means of attatchment could be by placing an embedded post on the back side and face screwing.

using sand in laying your grade beam ( which is what this sounds like due to the size of the timber) will help with as a leveling agent, whether it is partially buried in a shallow trench or sits ontop of the soil."

I think (and I'm no designer... an artist with an eye.. and a mountain to conquer) that those timbers will create the separation that you desire.

You could coat with creosote, but then you got black ugly, but they would repel termites and borers.

I like embedding them in sand, but I would suggest some rebar here and there to keep those timbers from rolling.

Your friend,

Suzi


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RE: Building a border around my yard

We can guess, but until you say it, we won't know if our guess is right.

There are always exceptions to every rule, but generally, this wood type of edging is curling after a relative short time. If you've done this previously, why aren't you just copying what you've already done?

It is not necessary to use such borders in order to keep mulch in place, if you would prepare the grade and bed edges for mulch instead ... a less cluttered look. You can see how mulch would stay in place if the beds were as thus:


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RE: Building a border around my yard

Thank you for your posts. I like the massive look. My yard doesn't have any curves. It's all angles. Here in AR everyone uses these timbers and at $4 each can you blame them. when I did it before it was a double timber like the one in the picture and it's a LOT of work. I have 200 feet to lay down so I don't want rebar but hooking them together is still foggy in my mine.


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RE: Building a border around my yard

How about a big staple? You know, a HUGE staple. You don't want them rolling and they are round. See, I'm a girl that likes a challenge, and I think this will be a great look for your yard.

The dog. What is it?

Suzi


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RE: Building a border around my yard

I think any way you cut it, it's going to be a lot of work. The cost will probably double with adequate hardware and something must anchor the lumber to the ground ... $$$. The lap joint will probably be your best best for linking lumber together, but that's a lot of time and effort, too. (I don't think it will look good with the mending plates as in your picture. When they rust it will look like time to re-do it.)

You should spread the word in AR about my even cheaper -- dang near free -- idea about edging and maybe they would stop buying those expensive timbers!


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RE: Building a border around my yard

I don't think I need to worry about anchoring the timbers to the ground because they are big and somewhat heavy so they aren't going anywhere. I'm not understanding the lap joints? So would the timber be more solid on the dirt or on sand? It seems that dirt would cement them into the ground because we get 40+ inches of rain each year.
My dog is an Irish Setter. I'm not sure about the staple, can you explain?


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RE: Building a border around my yard

Pressure treated lumber won't last as long as it once did (thanks to the EPA), but it will still last a long time, even in contact with the ground. I have a raised bed made from treated landscape timbers, and it shows little deterioration, even after 15 years. Only thing, a "rogue" length will occasionally try to curl, if not firmly secured. I've used two such timbers for each side of my bed (6 sides), with the upper nailed to the lower. It's topped with 2x4's, which adds stability and (to me), enhances the appearance. So, I would top this backyard border with staggered lengths of treated 2x4's, firmly nailed or, perhaps better, screwed. If a timber tries to misbehave, it could easily be replaced.


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RE: Building a border around my yard

Take a 2 foot peace of treated 2x4 and put it under 2 timbers, one foot on each side and screw them in with long screws and have the 2x4 buried to make it stable? Would that be better and I would have 6 screws per timber which don't look bad in my front. Just a thought.

This post was edited by lostsoul62 on Tue, Apr 8, 14 at 10:02


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RE: Building a border around my yard

See diagram for the lap joint. It requires that you cut a consistent notch from each of the timber. (A lot of time and effort.) Each notch mates with the notch at the next timber.

I think whitecap is saying if you create a border using a double thickness of timbers (one row on top of the other, nailed together) that it's a more substantial and sturdy creation. Joints are staggered in order to create structural integrity.

"... a "rogue" length will occasionally try to curl, if not firmly secured." If these are just sitting on top of the ground, not securely pinned to the earth in some way, that's a lot of timbers that aren't "firmly secured."


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RE: Building a border around my yard

I am addicted to this hillbilly TV Show, A hardscrabble life, and on one show, they dipped the ends of posts they just cut from felled trees in hot black oil to keep the post from rotting underground. My dad used to paint wood with creasote. Termites hate that stuff.

So maybe seal that wood with something prior to laying it on the ground. It's probably going to get wet from lawn sprinklers too.

Just an idea.......

Suzi


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RE: Building a border around my yard

Take a 2 foot peace of treated 2x4 and put it under 2 timbers, one foot on each end and screw them in with screws from the underside and have the 2x4 buried to make it stable? Would that be better and I would have 6 screws per timber which your won't see. Does this sound good to you are is there something wrong with my idea? I'm new at this.
I stain all my wood with a toner and sealer.
I have a double thickness of timbers in my front yard and it's 3+ times more work.

This post was edited by lostsoul62 on Tue, Apr 8, 14 at 10:12


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RE: Building a border around my yard

What you are describing sounds like using the principle of double thickness timbers, but the double thickness is only a short piece -- like a mending plate -- that links 2 timber ends together. Being as the 2 x 4 is buried, it doesn't show and one only sees a running span of timbers above grade. This is better, I think, than the lap joint because you don't have to create all those notches, and it gives you full thick material to drive a screw into. That sounds about as good as you're going to get. We still differ in our opinion of what looks good and how long things will hold up and last, but when your project is done, you'll have the opportunity to observe it for a good long time. I hope you prove me wrong.


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RE: Building a border around my yard

My question is do you think my idea is solid for a 66 year old man? My idea sounds simple and stronger by just screwing a peace of wood to the underside of timbers. Then the 2 foot peace of wood is buried so the timber won't shift?


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RE: Building a border around my yard

Lost, what you're thinking of sounds like a lot of work. 2x4's are cheap, and life short. Try dressing those timbers on top with full length 2x4's, and see if that doesn't look better. See what you're wife thinks. You're going to lose an inch or so of height to subsidence, anyway. One thing's for sure: If that's pressure treated lumber, exposed to the elements, it's going to start warping and curling. If it isn't, you're just feeding termites, sealer or no sealer.


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