One of the most challenging types of projects encountered by Details Landscape Art is the hillside. Planting on a hillside was addressed in a previous blog, but when the homeowner wants to have the slope terraced or provide flat areas, other issues must be addressed.

Hillside landscaping with color

Hillside tapestry

Heavy equipment is required to do the kind of excavation and earth moving needed to cut into the hillside and grade. Then a retaining wall (or walls) must be constructed to hold back or ‘retain’ the steep wall created by the excavation. This is an expensive proposition… any time we try to make a hilly area flat there are significant costs involved.

Retaining walls are built using concrete or cinder blocks filled with concrete and reinforced with rebar. A footing is excavated and filled with reinforced concrete to support the wall. The height and thickness of the wall depends on the slope it is to retain. Each city or municipality has it’s own permit requirements, and height limitations beyond which the wall must be engineered.

Once the base wall is complete, it can be faced with a variety of cultured stone or flagstone options, and capped with a coordinating stone. If the slope is not too steep and the wall can be kept to an eighteen-inch height, it can double as a seat wall and be both an attractive and functional element in the garden.