Planter Bed Retaining Walls

July 11, 2019

I have two terraced beds with mortared cinder block walls with footings. I am re-doing the waterproofing behind them and french drain because it didn't seem to be draining except right through the mortar joints. There are no weep holes. The walls are two feet high with 3 feet of soil bed behind them. There are four sections of the terraced beds, two that are 30 feet long and two that are 20 feet long. After digging it all up, found out that the french drains are sitting on top of the footing and are not sloped toward the drain outlet. The soil is clayey but amended with alot of organics. I am in southern California inland about 10-15 miles so no water table/groundwater issues. I plan to put in mostly vegetables with two or three dwarf fruit trees, two or three flowering or fruiting shrubs, and the rest herbaceous perennials. I will be using drip irrigation with occasionally deep watering with a hose. SO>>>>>my question is, do I need the french drain (or is there another alternative? If so, what is its correct placement behind the wall, (e.g., above footer, below footer, amount of gravel, size of trench, etc.) Outlets might be difficult because of little slope in the rest of the yard. Since the beds are relatively small, don't want to take up too much room with gravel, and don't want to make the beds too dry either (as water is expensive here in California). Thank you for your help...

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