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Earthbags as path edging  RSS feed

 
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Hello, some question for those experienced with earthbags. It's hopefully simple but we are earthbag newbies so any help much appreciated.:

Attempting to make a 100m footpath safer at a farm and retreat property. Plan is to build up above the existing path (which is very uneven sandstone road), using some crushed limestone we have available.

Looking at options for the edging/formwork to contain the limestone and assist with erosion control, we get high intensity rain and the path is on average 1:20 slope.

We considered raw stone as edging, attractive, but difficult to lay evenly. Hence would like to use earthbags for the edging/form work to avoid the other option of long concrete curb/s.  

- Bags would likely be 1 maybe 2 courses high so really quite minimal.
- We'd likely render the bags to protect from UV (UV is also intense at this location)
- We'd keep foot traffic off the render with some stones or similar 'nudge' to keep people off the bags.
- We  plan to use crushed limestone as bag fill but other options considered too. The 'outside' of the bags we'd put some loose stone as additional protection from water.

Any thoughts on stability of the bags/edging with such a low course and high rainfall?

Any perceived issues with moisture/water entering the bags? Anything else we should consider or that I'm missing?

Thanks for any advice.
 
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Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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hey ian,
welcome to the forums.
i am not experienced in that. but i think, you could secure the bags to the ground by hammering rebar through it.

what about trying to deal with the rain-water uphill? like redirecting or slowing down the water. maybe some swales, berms, hügelkultur-beds would help to protect the path.
did you watch the terrain during heavy rain? then you ll know where the water hits/flows. and then think about ways to deal with that before it hits your path.
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Check out gabion walls. I think you could accomplish this better with a gabion system. Very similar to an earth bag but made with stainless or galvanized steel. Rainwater can run right through. When done as a continuous wall, it can be quite strong, particularly if there are curves. No need to protect it from UV or foot traffic. It can become part of the walkway.

The gabions could be filled with any rough material that you may have, including rock, broken pottery, and concrete waste. A nice fine layer could be swept over the top surface, so that it blends seamlessly with the center of the path.

The photo shows pre manufactured baskets. For a low wall like yours, a heavy gauge wire could be used. It would be bent in a u-shape, with the outside vertical portion being higher, so that it can be bent over the top, once the basket is filled. It doesn't have to be flat on the top. It's probably better if the top slopes downward toward the center of the path. That way, when you rake the finishing material around, there is only a small portion of the wire that meets the surface. The life expectancy of something like this depends on the quality of the wire. Dipped galvanized will last much longer than electroplated
04_roznica_poziomow.jpg
[Thumbnail for 04_roznica_poziomow.jpg]
 
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Ian Cunningham wrote:Hello, some question for those experienced with earthbags. It's hopefully simple but we are earthbag newbies so any help much appreciated.:

Attempting to make a 100m footpath safer at a farm and retreat property. Plan is to build up above the existing path (which is very uneven sandstone road), using some crushed limestone we have available.

Looking at options for the edging/formwork to contain the limestone and assist with erosion control, we get high intensity rain and the path is on average 1:20 slope.



Possible alternative:

Construction industry uses straw wattle 'logs' for erosion control. (http://www.asphaltsupply.net/erosion-control.php) Wattles stacked two high and pegged to the ground. Then follow along with a stucco sprayer with a lime base mortar to cover. Add your gravel and backfill the other side. Could be very quick installation and as long as the mortar stays well should last many seasons.
 
Ian Cunningham
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Thanks for the advice so far.

If we end up doing anything creative I'll post a follow-up here. The project starts in October/November.
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Hi Ian
My experience is minimal I have a half built storm/root cellar that has been sitting nearly two years. (I know I'm a slacker... but I'm not... that is the problem... lol)
So the bags after sitting exposed that long have held up quite well actually. Although it is not in direct sun after the trees leaf out.
I would guess they would last quite a while if you were to fill them with soil good enough to grow a low ground cover something not too needy perhaps thyme or perhaps a moss? Pending on light situations.  You may get some extra life out of the plastics. I dunno..
I do know they have held up this long at my place with no protection, they are getting patches of something black? (hope its not mold) and that the mullein and other poor soil critters are moving into the packed bags. (soil inside is sandy on sight less than desirable soil as  to growing veg)
 
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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A friend of mine does a lot with earth bags. He build a dam for his pond and a house around a water tank. It is great but has to be rendered. I would put some pipes through in a regular intervall so that the water can run through and I would tilt the wall a bit like it is usually done. It looks great and is probably the cheapest method however a bit of work.
 
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