The Q&A Archives: Help for hopeless sloping yard ??

Question: I live on a corner lot, and have no back yard, only two side yards. The right hand yard slopes down to the road about 6 feet from the top to the street level. This means I am on display to all creation walking by as I BBQ etc. How can I get the privacy I want to enjoy this lot? Can't put up a ten foot fence - we're at street level and its not allowed - the house would look like Attica anyway.... Would it be expensive to pay someone to come in and buils a retaining wall aroun the yard and level ? Please help - this feels hopeless.

Answer: Retaining walls are usually expensive, yes, and costs will vary depending on the materials you used as well as the structural requirements and overall design. You might consider terracing the area to allow you a useable flat patio area by the house and a midway step down area where you could plant mid-height trees. These would then grow to shield your view -- and also provide an attractive integrationof the setting with the house. Meanwhile you could possibly put up a pergola structure right outside the house and grow annual vines on it. This would give immediate privacy without a fence. Depending on your building codes and zoning, a raised deck with pergola or retractable awning might provide the same privacy without doing any terracing or retaining walls. An on-site consultation with an experienced, professionally trained and degreed landscape architect should yield many suggestions as to different methods you could use to address this as well as some rough cost ranges. I hope this gives you a few ideas.

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