Ecology + Design

How do you Create a Level Backyard? Terracing, Rip, Rap Retaining Walls and More!

We are very often posed with the challenge of creating a level, usable space where there is a slope, depression or uneven grade. There are many creative solutions available to us as designers.

The first question is how great a slope or issue is presented. Is this area regulated by wetlands, building codes etc.? Is it steep enough to be considered a steep slope. If so it may fall under the NYSDEC steep slope permit. Will the project require engineering?

What about a budget? What is the actual value in improving the area in question? How will it be used and what function will it serve?

These are typically design questions. What are the views, how will the proposed changes affect property values etc?

Terracing is an ancient technique used to level a grade. Very often masonry retaining walls with subsurface drainage are constructed.

One method we employ is rip rap retaining features. This process uses natural stone to define and support grade changes. The natural appearance has advantages as well as the substantial cost savings involved in design and construction.

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