Home ProjectsExterior Retaining Wall Part 2

Retaining Wall Part 2

by Amber

Now, life just wouldn’t be fun if everything was always easy.  After looking at fencing options, we realized we would ultimately loose a lot of the yard that we just worked to extend, if we didn’t extend the retaining wall. Another major problem was, our dog would be able to jump over the fence on the left side of the yard with the design we wanted.  What good is a fence if it won’t keep your dog inside?You can see in this image below how much the picket slopes down with the wall, imagine the slope without it.  If you missed part 1 click here.

On the left side of the wall, the fence would have had to have come into the yard about 5-8 feet, in order to make a turn around the stump.  With a smaller backyard and a large dog we wanted every inch we could get.

After asking Vision Scape to come back out and quote a second phase of the wall, we decided to schedule it immediately so that we could get started on the fence.  Having a dog that loves water and half listens on a good day, combined with a muddy creek in the backyard to play in, we had a disaster on our hands.  It required us to take the dog out on a leash every time he needed to potty.  This was fun for about the first week!  Fast forward 6 months, we were totally over it.  The faster all this happened the better.


When part two started I was sick with the flu and didn’t make it outside to take photos of the entire process.  For details and an explanation of what went into creating the wall check out part 1. What you see below is the extension of the left side when looking towards to woods.

We decided to extend the retaining wall all the way to the end of our property line.  This made sure that the fence would remain pretty level to keep the dog in, and ensure we didn’t have to have a third extension.  You can see from this photo how much dirt they had to bring in to level out the backyard on that entire side. Another view, Cooper had to check everything out of course.

In addition to the extension on the left side they had to excavate the right side, which included this very large stump from one of the original trees we removed.  You can see from the grass line and mesh at the bottom of the picture below about where the wall stopped in the first install. They cut the top of the stump to be just below the dirt level so the stump could help hold everything in place, instead of just removing it.  You can also see that we started to curve the wall here.  This was the best place to stop the wall, because the yard started to level out naturally and it would help in the design of our fence.

The crew added more dirt and ultimately leveled everything out for us so we wouldn’t have any issues in the future and put down some grass seed to prevent washout.  I don’t have any additional photos other than the finished wall because Vision Scape accomplished all of this in two days! What?!?  Just digging out that stump would have taken Daniel and I a day.


This was the wall the morning after they finished it.  I don’t have any other photos since I was forced to lay in bed with the flu, Daniel all but sprayed me with Lysol when I tried to leave the room, but what a view!  Though I love that we have a fence now, I often miss this view, it felt like our backyard just went on forever!  The left side was extended 18 feet and the right side of the wall was extended another 21 feet and is 4 feet high.


The wall is done! Yay!!  Fast forward to after the fence is installed (click here for more info on that) and we started to notice a problem with the wall.  The video below, taken in May of 2016, shows just how high the creek gets in the wet seasons.  We didn’t realize the amount of water and how powerful it is until the day I took this video.

Amber’s Creek from House Two House on Vimeo.

The water rises so much that it runs along the wall and is close to 4 feet deep in some parts.  Daniel ran out during the storm just to check it out and realized it was eroding the wall.  After the storm passed we went to look at what was starting to wash out and called Vision Scape.

You can see just how powerful the current is and how close to the top of the bank it is from the photo below that was taken a while after the storm had passed.

This is what the creek generally looks like during April and May when we get a lot of rain.  It doesn’t rise to the wall all the time, but from the erosion it was a concern.
Vision Scape came out to look it over and said that we simply needed to add riffraff in front of the wall to keep it from washing out and fill the holes with dirt.  Since this was an easy solution we got riffraff from Vision Scape and Daniel was able to install it and accomplish this project one day during the summer, since then we haven’t had any problems.


Below are photos of the wall in February of this year, it is much easier to see the wall without leaves on the trees even though it isn’t nearly as pretty.  The finished wall is 63 feet long and ranges between 1-4 feet tall!  We never would have dreamed of putting this in, but it was worth every penny for the mental state of knowing our foundation and house are safe.      Though this is mainly a photo of our gate I wanted to show where the wall ended.  It was extended to this point, because the ground was most level outside of the gate, for us to be able to walk on the back half of the property.

A few things to note: you may have noticed from some of the photos that we now have a outdoor shower.  My husband has dreamed of an outdoor shower since we met, so we put one in, I have to say it is pretty amazing!  Washing our dog went from back breaking process of carrying a 90 pound unwilling labradoodle to the tub, to a very enjoyable and fast process.  More to come on it soon, and check out our fence install here.

If you live in Charlotte, NC or York County, SC and are looking for an experienced landscaping company you should contact Vision Scape Group.  Daniel and I love to do things ourselves, this however, was above our understanding and comfort level.  They were also able to accomplish a 63 foot retaining wall in under two weeks (combined) and it would have taken us 6 months most likely.  If you didn’t have a chance to read part 1 click here.

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