After several days of digging with a bobcat and an excavator, our landscaping guys were able to get through enough slate and rock to level part of the yard and put up the retaining wall a reasonable distance from the house. Ultimately, we ended up with a small lower yard that will extend from the edge of the back deck about 20′, running along the entire back of the house. Behind that is a retaining wall that runs almost the length of the yard and stands between 5-8′ high. And behind the retaining wall is a large second tier of the backyard that will also be relatively flat (graded a bit for water run-off).
On the lower tier, we’ll put down a few inches of top soil and sod to finish, and the upper yard will likely be finished with grass seed and pine straw. We’re hoping that the yard is completed by Monday, along with the sod and the final grading of the upper tier. Once the landscaping is done, we can start building the large deck in the backyard as well.
In the front of the house, the landscapers started digging up the driveway (about a 20 sq ft area), and clearly there is a spring head that runs through the yard and under the concrete. Below the driveway was several inches of standing water, which is what was previously pushing up through the concrete. The plan for Monday is to trench down about 2-3′, pour gravel and stone, top with dirt and then re-pour the driveway concrete.
The trench filled with gravel will extend from the driveway to the adjacent creek, acting as a large French drain for the water beneath the concrete.
Here’s a couple pics of both the backyard retaining wall and the driveway work to give you an idea of where things stand:
Start of Build of Retaining Wall
View from Upper Tier of Yard Down to House
Concrete Dug Up from Driveway