Landscape retaining wall bid example.

I think we all learn better when presented with an example. A lawn care business owner asked a great question on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum about how to bid the removal of an old railroad tie retaining wall and replacing it with a new castle stone retaining wall. How long will it take and what is involved? There were a bunch of great follow up questions asked too. After reading this, you should get a pretty good idea on what is involved in such a landscaping project.

Landscape retaining wall bid example

Landscape retaining wall bid example

He wrote “I need help bidding on a retaining wall job. The wall is made of railroad ties and the owner wants it redone with castle stone.

How to bid a retaining wall.

How to bid a retaining wall.

It’s 3′8″ where it begins at the house and 3′6″ at the corner bend in the middle.

These dimensions need to change to 4′6″ at the house and at the corner bend and then follow the slope of the hill a little better than the currently rotted railroad ties.


How to bid a retaining wall.

It’s currently 19′ in length from the house to the end of the bottom railroad tie. The owner wants it extended to 22′.”

Another lawn care business owner responded “bare with me as we do a lot of these.”

Q: First question is that pavement the wall is sitting on?

A: Not pavement, concrete driveway.

Q: If they want from the house to the bend longer, do they want to maintain the same angle?

A: No, they don’t want from the house to the bend longer. They just want to keep the same angle and extend the wall from the bend to the end longer.

Q: Do you have any experience or the tools to cut brick?

A: No experience, no tools to cut brick.

Q: You are going to need a back hoe or mini excavator. Do you have access to one either own or rent?

A: I would have to rent one.

Q: Do you have a trailer that will haul about 2 yards of 3/4″ clear stone?

A: Yes, I have a trailer. Tandem axle 16′…. haven’t used it all season.

Q: Do you have a compactor or ability to rent one?

A: I would have to rent the compactor as well. Since we are talking about renting some stuff, what am I looking at for the job, price-wise. Will it be worth taking the job? This customer is adamant about getting this done and he pays well. Yet, he is still a new customer and I don’t wanna mess that up by not doing a good job on the wall.

I got an older guy that’s been doing landscaping and lawn service for 30 years, we’re gonna ride up to the house tomorrow so he can eyeball it. Hopefully he can help me do the job.”

Then the other lawn care business owner suggested “Castle Stone of all the walls is the most difficult and time consuming and I will be straight up, if it were my first brick wall, I would either pass or sub contract it to a company that builds walls. We turned one down in May that had a few angles as it was beyond our equipment and skill level, in fact some 20 walls later I still would pass on Castle Stone.

The process is to remove the current wall, dig back 16 inchs and down below grade level 30 inches. Lay down 18 inches of 3/4 clear stone and compact. Put 2 inches of crusher dust on top and compact, basically 3/4 of your tallest stone should be below grade on the first course. As you build the wall you need to put clear stone behind the wall and compact also. This allows for drainage and will stop the wall from moving.

The most difficult issue is that angle. There are two options however since he has a concrete driveway, you are limited to keeping the angle the same. Anyhow a curve is a lot easier to build than a direct angle, you will need to rent a 15″ saw capable of cutting the stone at the desired angle, remember for example if that is a 30 degree angle, the angle cut in the brick on each side will be 15 degrees.

I have no idea what costs are for rental and supplies in your area, however I can give you a very rough idea how long it would take us with the equipment we have to do this.

  • Remove of the old wall will take about 4 hours, I am assuming it’s nailed with 12″+ spikes
  • Trucking - Around here no one will take old railway ties due to the chemicals.
  • Remove earth - 1 hour
  • 3/4″ clear stone - 3 yards, crusher dust - 1 Yard, Build wall itself - 3 Guys - 46 hours
  • Industrial landscape fabric - goes between the wall and the crusher dust and the rock behind - 1 roll

We have three stone manufacturers here in my area. You can go to their locations and play around with a stone you are about to use. See if they allow you to at their location. On the ground start building a wall lets say three feet long and two feet high. You will see what I mean when it comes to working with this stone. Also ask them about cutting the stone, two places here will cut it for me. We can only cut up to 8 in, however castle stone can be as high as 12 in. ”

Great things to keep in mind as you experiment with your first retaining wall bid.

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How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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