A rolling landscape is great, but working with a few feet of grade decline in a small space creates a variety of dilemmas in Phoenix landscaping. At times it is possible to install pavers for the front walk in this kind of situation without much of a retainer at all, but not always. With such a drop right next to the public walk it is impossible to ensure the safety of those who pass by. Gravity will always carry landscape rock onto the concrete, so trying to bypass it is just asking for trouble in the future. Cutting corners when your front yard presents this challenge can also detract from the life of your front walk, because the pressure of the steps and paving is greater from foot traffic.
Besides having a very limited budget, we can’t imagine why anyone would nix the retaining walls. They add so much impact to the overall appeal of this small front yard. Having more than one level makes the space visually larger, and a lot more interesting than when such a narrow strip is flat.
This particular client opted for masonry retaining walls capped with tumbled pavers that match the front walk and driveway. At the time this image was taken the concrete work had not thoroughly dried, and once it’s cured we’ll return to paint it to match the walls of the home. For a less sleek, modern look retaining walls can also be faced with natural stone.
The height of your retaining wall will have much to do with how it can be built. The taller they are, the greater the force the earth behind it places on the structure. Shorter walls can be constructed with dimensional wall block to match pavers without the need for paint. This grade change size is possible to handle in steps, but only when there is more depth to the area allowing the series of setbacks to be installed and plants on each level to soften all that hardscaping.