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rammed Earth garden beds

 
Posts: 15
Location: South.AZ - Winter Zone 9a - Summer Zone 10 - Sunset Zone 12 - Koppen-Geiger Zone BSh Hot Semi-Arid
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I'm considering making garden beds from rammed Earth. I'm basically a newbie - I've done some basic frame stucco construction, but with an organized group, not on my own before. I know that water proofing the walls can be an issue, especially if they're going to be constantly wet (the inside walls) from soil and moisture. Does anyone have experience with this? Thanks.
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
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Adobe is probably a better solution.  

If your soil isn't right for making adobe, you can make cement stabilized soil if you aren't 100% set on it being "natural" or possibly lime stabilized (more natural)

I've made cement stabilized blocks using my local soil (>95% sand and rock) with cement at a 9 to 1 ratio.  It dries hard and has lasted 12 years so far in the rain, etc. without any noticeable degradation.  I'm working on building a driveway using similar mix.

Another  possibility that I've seen frequently in the middle east, is to create blocks, etc. out of mud, dry the blocks thoroughly, build a wall out of them, then coat the wall with a cement/lime soil mix.  This uses even less cement and the wall is almost as durable.  However, the coating can be a little fragile and can break off if you bang it with something (wheelbarrow, tractor, etc.)
 
pollinator
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Have you thought of doing earthbag instead? Use the same material to fill, tamp in place and cover with a nice lime plaster. They wouldn't matter if they got wet and I think are easier to build.
 
Kat Zeeberg
Posts: 15
Location: South.AZ - Winter Zone 9a - Summer Zone 10 - Sunset Zone 12 - Koppen-Geiger Zone BSh Hot Semi-Arid
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Peter and Daniel - thanks for the info. I will look into those options. I just want to make something out of dirt because that is the natural building material I have on my land - but it doesn't have to be rammed earth specifically - so your ideas sound good too. I just thought rammed earth would be easier to build myself than adobe - but earth bags are a good alternative.
 
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