Our planet is not some idealized perfect sphere, like a billiard ball spinning in space. We have craggy, irregular surfaces everywhere, from gentle hills and dales to the soaring peaks of Mount Everest or the plummeting depths of the Grand Canyon.
Humans are a strange lot, and we’ve built on most of those surfaces at one time or another. Of course the cliff-side house is not for everybody; we generally prefer fairly flat land with paved roads that are accessible by car instead of mule teams and Sherpas.
You may have a small private home, or a massive estate, but anything that deviates from essentially flat can become a problem. The home in the image experienced significant erosion on the southern side, resulting in dangerous drop-offs where people or animals could be hurt.
Adding a retaining wall on the south allowed acres of usable land recovery, while on the east side, a gentle slope was stabilized so it was gentle and walkable. It’s obvious how the value of the property was substantially increased once everything was made steady and firm.
Gravity can bend or break things, but it can also cause them to flow like a liquid. All you have to do is look at the stained glass windows of a 400 year old church to see that the top of each pane is very, very thin and the bottom is very thick because over the centuries it has flowed lower.
Soil is a lot more flexible than glass, and so it flows very quickly. To prevent that we prepare the surface by grading the slope into the shape we need, and cover it with a high tech geo-mesh. The mesh is held in place by very long soil nails that utilize the weight of soil further up the slope to prevent movement.
Once it is in place, the mesh allows plant cover to grow through it so that the root systems provide additional support for the slope. The support system itself becomes completely invisible, reliably holding everything in place for decades. The average passerby will not even know it is there, but an engineer will recognize that the slope couldn’t possibly exist in that condition naturally.
Depending on the steepness of the slope, and the tendency of the soil to experience movement, it might require a metal mesh. Often this is supported with rock nails, similar to soil nails, but designed to penetrate and grip in stone or bedrock, making it virtually impossible to move.
The advantage with a metal mesh is that it is
structurally sound to support a shotcrete installation. If you need a custom shape, this can provide an excellent solution.
Supporting a sloped embankment near a water course is often necessary, too. This prevents property loss through water erosion of your shoreline.
Left to its own devices, soil will happily migrate down a slope. Moving slowly it is called erosion; moving quickly it is called a landslide; driven by excess water it’s called a mudslide. Generally speaking, humans disapprove of all of these things, especially if they occur in a built-up area. This is why slope stabilization is so important.
We can remediate an unstable or failed slope (landslide) with structural reinforcement even before the soil is removed. We can add support after the clean- up, too. Our engineers are intimately familiar with the morphology and structure of soils in our state.
You can be confident that whatever types of “support” your project requires, your best choice is always the bright orange of Oscar Orduno, Inc.
We are the experts you need!
We cover most of the state, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Lubbock, Amarillo, Tyler, and Waco. You’ll see our bright orange equipment in all of those places, and many more besides! We’d love to hear you say “Howdy”, so take a moment and get in touch.