I decided to finally reach out to a community of earth bag enthusiasts to ask about using them in a conventional yard wall. That would mean high (8 feet), long (like 200 feet), and straight. I know they're not at their best done this way, but I wondered if anybody has tried to use them for walls like that with some kind of reinforcement. I presume with some vertical posts (pipe/rebar,whatever) with wire across each layer of bags every few feet that it could start getting plausible. Has anybody tried it?
I've been pondering earth bags particular because:
1. They're cheap
2. Dirt absorbs sound well
3. I can ultimately get an adobe-like finish on the wall that would work well with this 60's spanish-mission thing happening with this house's architecture
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
posted 5 years ago
As it seems you know, long straight walls are not ideal. Adding a few curves would help, but I am assuming you want to maximize space along a straight property line.
Adding buttresses along the wall would be another option to reinforce. Such buttresses could potentially be multifunctional. For example, a 4 foot deep raised garden bed formed of earthbags on one side would add some stability to the wall. A shed, chicken coop or mini-greenhouse built between buttresses. A cob bench or outdoor dining table. Tea or meditation room?
In the big picture, it doesn't sound like the wall will serve a structural purpose in your home, so it probably doesn't need to be heavily overbuilt. What's the worst that happens? A 10-foot section starts to lean and eventually falls over?
A section of fence falling down is a big deal when it weighs a ton.
It can and has been done before.
A sine-wave curve is the best solution, but that requires cooperation between neighbors and zoning flexibility that may not exist. You could also do posts with infill (basically post and beam) with reinforcement, or buttresses.
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