Ideas to repair/patch timber retaining wall?

My parents have a small retaining wall on the side boundary of their new property. It is about 4 sleepers high, the bottom sleeper is mostly in the ground though, so the wall is about 70cm high that we can see, with the soil level about 20cm below the top sleeper on the neighbours side of the fence (fence is attached to sleeper wall and sits above it).

In a few places there is some rot in a sleeper - not all of them, just 1 here and there, a couple are quite bad and crumble when poked. The house is 7 years old. This is our first experience with retaining walls, so I am not sure what is the 'norm' for wooden walls that have some rot - because the walls seem to be everywhere now other people must have had experiences like this?

Is there any way to patch these few sleepers given that it is such a small wall (and ultimately if it falls in it hurts the neighbours more than us - and they don't want to know about it and won't contribute to repairs)? We have had quotes to put a link-block wall or a concrete sleeper wall in front of it which range from $15K to $25K...but given the small yard we are not wanting to loose any more land, nor pay that sort of money to effectively help the neighbours! Can we put a few more uprights in to hold it back, or replace a few of the sleepers?

Any advice/ideas? Any recommendations of good people that will do this work - Brisbane northside?
A retaining wall is not considered to be part of a boundary frnce unless the actual fence is attached to it - which from your post, this one is.

Therefore, it is up to you and the neighbour to go 50-50 in repairs or replacement as per the 'dividing fences act' in your state. You need to start a conversation first with the neighbours and then get 2-3 quotes.
We have already had the conversations with the neighbours and have showed them the retaining wall from our side and they don't want anything to do with it - this was before we got the 6 different quotes. They don't want it touched as they are worried about their shed slab which is right up to the fenceline. So even though dividing fences act might apply, unless we go through legal proceedings they won't come to the party, despite the fact that they will end up with more problems if the wall gives way than us.

So is it possible to patch/replace a few sleepers without doing the whole wall? I figure this won't cost as much and my parents will not want to get into a fight with the neighbours. Who would do this sort of work? I think this is what my parents should do as they will never get back that sort of money and the wall only has about 50cm of dirt behind it so it should not cause major problems, especially for them (as for the neighbours shed slab....but thats their problem).
Here are some pics of the wall. As you can see, there are only a couple of sleepers that are bad - and they are really bad - the others are fine.....there are also a couple that are bowing out a bit - only one that is so bowed that there is a gap as pictured, the rest are just not quite flush.


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Buy the same size sleeper,cut it down to smaller pieces,
Screw each one on the bottom and second top sleeper to secure them.


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Frankly, I would not do anything at the moment.

Just take every opportunity to remind the neighbours that, as it is part of the dividing fence then the fair split for repairs is 50-50 but hey, you aren't too worried because if it falls down then it won't worry you too much.

Give them a bit of time to realise that you are not going to wave a magic wand for them and they may be a bit more co-operative.

As you say (and the photos bear out) - it is more to their advantage than yours.
I agree with marg....

A couple of rotten sleepers will not a disaster cause....

Will one day mean something has to be done but by the looks of your photos there is no major weight or pressure put on that wall...put a pot plant there....:D

Pa1nter.....nice bit of photoshopping there...;)

EDIT: Just make sure that when you poke these rotten sleepers, that there are no signs of whiteants....if so, then you have an immediate problem that would require the whole lot being removed....just my thoughts without seeing in full the problem.
And if you find white ants, don't disturb them. Call in a pest man. I highly recommend Wayne Creed of Rifle Pest Management.
Scrape out all the rotten bits and fill them with builders bog (a synthetic substance equals timber from Bunnings) and add a bit of dark brown paint to the last bit, gouge some scrape marks in it and you will hardly see the difference. We painted my mums house many years ago and used quite a few tubs of this stuff on the old weatherboards and its still as good as new.