I have a wood retaining wall made of 3x12 pressure-treated boards similar to the one pictured here.

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The backside has MiraDrain and 3/4" drainage rock. I have an excess of earth to manage and one option I'm thinking of is to move it to the front side of the wall, approx. 12-18" high. There is also a consideration of putting fence boards on the front to make it more visually appealing.

What should I do to the front side of the wall regarding protection from rot (whether we add fence boards or not) to make sure it has a long life.

Weed blocking fabric?
Landscape fabric?
Build 4-sided garden boxes, and put the fill dirt in there?
Do nothing?
Other ideas?

In California, no snow to worry about.


If the boards (& posts) are properly pressure-treated for ground contact, then there should be no need to worry about them rotting due to contact with ground/dirt on either side. For what it's worth I think it looks fine as is, but if you choose to add fence boards, they would either need to avoid ground/soil contact for be rated for ground/soil contact in their treatment.

The garden boxes appeal to me, but that's because I'd grow stuff in them - if that's not you, then they might be a waste of materials. Depending exactly how/where they are built, I guess they might also reenforce the wall.

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