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W hen walls are used to create levels on a sloping site, stairs are often required

to traverse the different levels. Stairs are addressed as part of this section because of
their relationship to walls and because many stair projects are incorporated into wall
projects. Planning information presented in this chapter applies not only to stairs as
part of a wall project, but also to cast-in-place concrete stairs and wood stairs built as
part of a landscape structure. Specific construction techniques for cast-in-place
concrete and wood stairs are presented in Chapters 23 and 30, respectively.
The landscape also presents situations where a slope needs to be navigated with
stairs even though no wall is planned. Such instances require the construction of
freestanding stairs. Because the side slopes are so gradual, freestanding stairs are
constructed without the benefit of retaining or cheek walls. Stairs in this situation are
typically constructed with riser/tread dimensions that match the slope, rather than
matching the ideal mathematical relationships for steps. This chapter also outlinesthe
methods of planning and installing various types of materials used for freestanding
Information provided in this chapter is supplemented by instructions provided
elsewhere in this text. Before undertaking activities described in this chapter, read the
related information in the following chapters:
Construction Math, Chapter 4

When space separation is required but the design dictates a more substantial look, a
freestanding wall may be the best choice. The freesta ding wall incorporates the
benefits of a
fence with the permanence of a landscape wall. Although it is expensive and time-
consuming to construct, the freestanding wall adds a strong sense of permanence to a
Freestanding walls should not be confused with landscape retaining walls (see Section
5). Both retaining walls and freestanding walls require special construction techniques
to maintain stability, but their construction is for very different reasons. Retaining
walls endure pressure from the forces of soil and water behind the wall, whereas
freestanding walls must overcome the force of wind to remain upright.

Free standing barrier walls may vary in height from 900-2 400 mm (3-8 ft). They are
typically constructed from masonry, stone, or concrete . Design is governed by
porosity and bearing capacity of site soils, and wind load conditions . With the
exception of dry laid stone walls, all
such barrier walls require footings and tensile reinforcement . Selected details
typical applications of these walls and materials.
1 .1 General Notes
Stone walls should be built of stones from the local region . Larger stones are typically
laid in bottom courses. Periodic single course tie stones are useful for holding dry
laid walls together, especially in cold climates. Mortared stone walls require footing
below frost line in cold regions . Rake
and tool all joints to avoid moisture penetration,
especially at top of wall. Single width cap stone is preferred over small fitted pieces.
Cap stone thickness is typically 50-100 mm (2-4 in) minimum. Avoid thin veneer caps.
Small concrete walls may not require a spread footing. All walls subject to wind loads
typically require a spread footing, with depth calculated for lateral sheer, or frost
depth (which ever is greater). Masonry walls require steel reinforcing and fully grouted
cavities, sealed with a cut cap stone or precast coping sloped to drain.

Types of drainage systems

Drainage systems may be divided into two categories, surface and subsurface. Each
has several components with similar functions but different names. At the lower, or
disposal, end of either system is an outlet. In order of decreasing size, the components
of a surface system are the main collection ditch, field ditch, and field drain; and for a
subsurface system, main, submain, and lateral conduits from the submain. The outlet
is the point of disposal of water from the system; the main carries water to the outlet;
the submain or field ditch collects water from a number of smaller units and carries it
to the main; and the lateral or field drain, the smallest unit of the system, removes the

The outlet for a drainage system may be a natural stream or river or a large
constructed ditch. A constructed ditch usually is trapezoidal in section with side banks
flat enough to be stable. Grass may be grown on the banks, which are kept clear of
trees and brush that would interfere with the flow of water.

A surface drainage system removes water from the surface of the soil and to
approximately the bottom of the field ditches. A surface system is the only means for
drainage improvement on soils that transmit water slowly. Individual surface drains
also are used to supplement subsurface systems by removing water from ponded

The field drains of a surface system may be arranged in many patterns. Probably the
two most widely used are parallel drains and random drains. Parallel drains are
channels running parallel to one another at a uniform spacing of a few to several
hundred feet apart, depending on the soil and the slope of the land. Random drains
are channels that run to any low areas in the field. The parallel system provides
uniform drainage, whereas the random system drains only the low areas connected by
channels. In either case the channels are shallow with flat sides and may be farmed
like the rest of the field. Crops are usually planted perpendicular to the channels so
that the water flows between the rows to the channels.

Some land grading of the fields where surface drains are installed is usually essential
for satisfactory functioning. Land grading is the shaping of the field so that the land
slopes toward the drainage channels. The slope may be uniform over the entire field
or it may vary from part to part. Before the advent of the digital computer, the
calculations necessary for planning land grading were time-consuming, a factor that
restricted the alternatives available for final design. Today, computers rapidly explore
many possibilities before a final land grading design is selected.

In a subsurface drainage system, often called a tile system, all parts except the outlet
are located below the surface of the ground. It provides better drainage than a surface
system because it removes water from the soil to the depth of the drain, providing
plants a greater mass of soil for root development, permitting the soil to warm up
faster in the spring, and maintaining a better balance of bacterial action, the air in the
soil, and other factors needed for maximum crop growth.

The smallest component of the subsurface system, the lateral, primarily removes
water from the soil. The laterals may be arranged in either a uniform or a random
pattern. The choice is governed by the crop grown and its value, the characteristics of
the soil, and the precipitation pattern.

The primary decision required for a system with uniform laterals is their depth and
spacing. In general, the deeper the laterals can be emplaced, the farther apart they
can be spaced for an equivalent degree of drainage. Theoretical studies have shown
that laterals can be spaced 24 feet (7.3 metres) apart for each foot of depth. Laterals
usually are spaced from 80 to 300 feet (24 to 91 metres) apart and three to five feet
(0.9 to 1.5 metres) deep.

Subsurface drainage systems are as important in many irrigated areas as they are in
humid areas. A drainage system is needed on irrigated lands to control the water table
and ensure that water will be able to move through a soil, thus keeping salts from
accumulating in the root zone and making the soil unproductive.