Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, has made a career out of avoiding unsightly retaining walls
Whether a landscape job is large or small, each one can be an opportunity to create scenes and vistas as they appear in nature. Indeed, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert has made a career out of avoiding unsightly retaining walls that do not in the least appear natural. Instead, he uses elements such as plants and boulders to hold back soil and to keep back the grade.
In addition, he finds that regular manmade retaining walls often require an engineer’s plan in order to get approval from local municipalities. However, when boulders and plants are used, such approval usually isn’t required — saving time and money.
Project #1: To hold back the soil between new upper and lower patios, natural stone steps, moss rocks and boulders, as well as soil made stronger with beautiful plantings, create a lovely vista while maintaining the grade.
Herbaceous perennials and low-growing procumben juniper peep in and around large boulders on both sides of natural stone steps.
Project #2: This site dropped off 20-feet, down a steep slope, overgrown with brush. We created a stream beginning at the top that can be seen from the house. Then we meandered it down the entire slope — supported by boulders, rocks and plants — ending in a tranquil pond stocked with koi.
The finished pond is situated next to a new patio; the family can sit on lounge chairs, in between the pond and pool, and enjoy being completely surrounded by water.
Project #3: When taking measurements, our outdoor living expert noticed a delightful and beautifully maintained shade garden, set in a wooded part of the property along a charming path. It was a favorite spot for the wife, a local doctor, who frequently sat there for relaxation.
He created a stream crossing over the path at several points — in fact, a whole series of streams, with waterfalls dropping down the hill, ending in a maintenance-free pondless reservoir.
The reservoir he recommended is a 1,000-gallon tank with pump that pushes the water back up the 40-foot hill to recirculate. Renter also suggested the new walk bridge that now crosses part of a stream close to the sitting area.
Waterfalls and stream flow down into “pondless reservoir” — a 1,000-gallon tank with pump that pushes water back up 40-foot hill to recirculate.
Project #4: Our outdoor living expert practices what he preaches. His own front yard looks like a fairytale scene straight from an enchanted forest, with waterfall and stream.
Underneath the sloping grade is a pond with waterfalls. “ It’s a spot I go to every morning before leaving home. It also happens to be situated close to the end of our circular driveway, so it’s also the first thing I see when returning home at night,” he says.
The stream begins at mailbox and works its way down the hill through several spills, with a final spill freshening the pond; bridge crosses over the stream for the perfect stroll through it all.
Project #5: Waterfall, bright plants, mingling with natural stone boulders, along with new freeform pool, not only suggest natural South Sea lagoon, but together they beautifully support the slope.
Bright huge bursts of colored plantings, moss rock and boulders from Pennsylvania, and pool’s edge hold back slop exquisitely.
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