One of my favorite design projects this year tackled a very common problem in residential landscapes; a sloping yard that renders outdoor space pretty much unusable. That was the condition at this residence in Watertown when I first visited the site. The back yard was a generous size, but the grade change made it difficult to even set a few chairs on the lawn without them tipping over. The home had an existing concrete paver patio off of the back, but the grade cut across this patio, creating drainage problems and an awkward connection to the yard.
The design plan for this yard included a series of curved fieldstone retaining walls. These walls function to create a lawn terrace that connects to the patio.
Now, there is a seamless flow from the house to the patio and then out to the lawn. The stone walls, while a feature in their own right, also define the shape of plant beds that sweep around, and into the yard. An effective approach for managing grade change, retaining walls can be useful and beautiful features in the landscape.