I need some SERIOUS help here....

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  #1  
Old 05-17-11, 05:58 PM
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I need some SERIOUS help here....

We bought this house a few years ago, and the front yard is just a disaster. I've got some quotes for upwards of $20,000 to basically kill the lawn, redo the sprinkler system and add a retaining wall. I would like, or I *think* I would like, to tackle this myself, as I have a friend with a bobcat, a friend who does walls, and the rest I think I could do myself (maybe?)....Currently the "grass" is just pretty much dead and weeded. On top of that, I'm on a large corner lot and a semi-steep slope! This is/was my plan.....I'm looking for feedback on this project:
1.) Use lawn/weed killer to kill all existing grass/weeds
2.) Remove sprinkler system
3.) Dig small trench for a small (3') wall that is laid about 5' up from the sidewalk
4.) Put in new sprinkler system
5.) Build wall (stone, wraps around entire corner of house)
6.) Plant succulents between sidewalk and wall
7.) Backfill behind wall (between wall and house) and till/aerate, then lay sod.
8.) Remove some trees

Here's a picture of how it looks NOW......Any feedback/advice/suggestions would be MUCH appreciated!
 
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  #2  
Old 05-18-11, 12:12 PM
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Not an expert, but looking at your slope, you need one to determine if a retaining wall would be a good idea. I would be concerned about water buildup at the wall and under the top soil during freezing weather. Are your neighbors lot layout simular to yours and do they have retaining walls?
The dead grass is most likely caused by lack of attention and not running the sprinkler system properly in sufficient quantity.
 
  #3  
Old 05-18-11, 12:23 PM
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I think you have a good plan. I just happens to be on a larger scale than I'm used to seeing on this site.

A proper retaining wall and plantings could add some visual interest to the front yard, help keep pedestrians on the sidewalk and level the main lawn making it easier to irrigate and mow. It might look nice to have the wall start near the camper and have the top remain level and follow the curve of the sidewalk and have the wall disappear into the hill.

Personally I like the trees that you have at least the two larger ones in the front. They are tall enough and pruned to look neat and they are not blocking the house and they help break up the large amount of white house. Without the trees I think you'd need to consider something on the house like shutters (though I don't think they fit with the style). Also, I think adding the wall and some plantings at the street I think would help balance the trees out visually.
 
  #4  
Old 06-06-11, 11:39 PM
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Landscaping and Flagstone Wall Ideas too!

If you go with a wall, consider boundry lines. Contact your local planning and zoning department. And yes, weep holes are definitly a must. Water will trap behind a wall and pretty much push it over. If you live in a location where the ground freezes, you will need a frost proof footing underneath the wall so the soil directly underneath the wall doesnt freeze and heave the wall up, damaging it. Be sure to check with your local planning and zoning about wether you need a permit too! Let me know if you would like some very good ideas to work with as far as landscaping ideas! And i have some very good Flagstone Wall (and walkway) Building Ideas too!
 
  #5  
Old 06-07-11, 05:01 PM
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Looking at your lot, I wouldn't try to actually level out the top of the lawn. You've got what, 5-6 feet of slope there? The place would look like Shawshank. Especially with that large, windowless wall by the garage. I would build a relatively low wall (42-48 inches from ground level) at its highest point and use this to mitigate the slope of the upper area, cutting into the existing slope to create beds in front of the wall. Some perennials or low maintenance shrubs would go a long way towards softening the look of the masonry. Keep in mind, though, the blocks you will use are not the $0.99 apiece kind you get at the Depot. I built a wall similar to yours for a friend about 15 years ago (back before I got old) and the blocks we used weighed about 45 lbs each. I drove by it last year and its still level and intact . We got them at a landscape supply yard. Do your research about drainage and don't skimp on the base. A wall like this requires burying one full course on top of 6-8 inches of compacted gravel. So you're looking at a trench about 14-16 inches deep. Also, do what I did, and ask LOTS of questions. For my buddy's wall, the folks at the supply company were very helpful; the guy even volunteered to come out if I had problems. Well, I may have led him to believe that I was a landscaper who would be back to purchase a lot more material. One last bit of advice. Here in pain-in-the-ass Illinois, DIRT is considered a hazardous material. You will have fill to dispose of. I would make arrangements for someone to haul away the fill before you start.
 
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