Terraced Slope

Client Goals

This project had a main requirement of fixing a few failing railroad tie retaining walls in the backyard. Plants and drainage to retain the slope were requested to minimize future problems with the hill. The clients requested the use of primarily native plants for low maintenance and water use and to increase biodiversity for local wildlife. To maximize backyard space, the clients wished to add a firepit on the hill as well as a flat area for the family dog to play. Finally, poor drainage on the concrete patio needed to be addressed to prevent pooling.

The front yard was primarily a conversion from grass to low water use plants to reduce maintenance and costs while increasing curb appeal. The client also would like a tree in the front yard to provide some shade on the front of the house. To reduce pooling on the concrete, the client wanted an area for the gutters to drain and let the water infiltrate the soil.

Design Solutions

To address pooling, a gutter downspout was repositioned to flow into a dry creek bed that provides seasonal water to native species including a honey mesquite to provide shade on the house. The entrance walkway of the house was previously a mixture of square pavers and a concrete path. To better fit the new design these were replaced with flagstone. A combination of native plants was used to create color and contrast for both curb appeal and biodiversity.

For backyard accessibility a decomposed granite pathway was added leading to a firepit near the top of the yard to take advantage of the views. The yard has a large variety of native plants that benefit wildlife as well as help with slope stability. A portion of the hill was flattened and bark is used as an area for the family dog to run around. A Callistemon viminalis provides shade over a bench for the clients to be near the dog for play. A small edible garden is placed at the patio level near native plants that attract pollinators. Various trees and large shrubs provide shade and screening from the neighbors.

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