Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Retaining Walls: Before and After

Out of the 4 retaining walls holding back various parts of our sloping property, 2 were crying out for replacement this spring.   One other was rebuilt a couple of years ago, and the 4th one looked just fine.

The front wall was built of Columbia River basalt in 1984 when the house was new, by me and a couple of teenage boys from our ward who did the heavy lifting (I was pregnant w/ Teresa).  CR basalt is easy to come by here since NW Oregon is one giant prehistoric lava flow.  Above the wall we planted buffalo junipers which had long outlived their beauty and low maintenance.   As the ground has shifted over the years rocks occasionally popped out onto the sidewalk.
the old wall
We planned to replace the wall with boulders many times the size of these, but what to do with a ton of rocks we no longer had use for?   Craig's List of course.  I advertised free rock, u-haul, and in a few days the rocks had vanished.   The building of the new wall (of turner basalt) is covered on Craig's blog here.
new wall halfway finished

Once it was completed, over a period of about a month I dug nearly 100 plant holes.  There are so many commercial nurseries around here it's easy to come by bargain basement prices for nice plants.  I planted only perennials this summer and will fill in with annuals next year.  We have zebra grass, lucifer plant, phlox, black-eyed susan, st. john's wort, coreopsis, just to name a few.

Now the before and after retaining wall in the backyard:

so long to the old pressure-treated timbers

still some fine-tuning to do; what an improvement!


  1. I can't wait until Jeremy reads this post so he can comment on all the plant types.

  2. Please upload pictures after you completed this project of yours. I think the outcome would be beautiful.

  3. i also want to have a look at the compelted project