Terracing the backyard


The Lumber

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These are (90) 6x6" x 12' and (33) 6x6" x 8' timbers. This was the original estimate, but the yard had a different slope than expected with the east side being much lower than the west. Thus another 24 12 footers will be needed.


Getting Started

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Just getting started on the foundation for the first terrace. Building from the bottom to the top allows linking the terraces together into one structure for greater stability.


First Terrace First Row

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This is the foundation row for the first terrace. Note that the east side (foreground) had to be built up considerably to get the first row level. I had learned from building previous raised bed gardens that it is very important to do the extra work to get the base level.


Third Terrace Almost Done

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The third terrace is almost done and the ground work for the fourth terrace is underway. Note that the top of the lower terrace is tied into the bottom of the next higher terrace in order to increase stability.


Deeper Than Expected

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The east side is much deeper than originally expected. This will mean hauling a lot more dirt down the hillside.


View of the West Side

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Work is progressing on the fourth terrace. This picture shows the terraces from the west side and this is what I erronously thought would be the same for the east side.


View of the East Side

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You can see that there is a lot more structure needed on the east side.


Another View of the East Side

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A picture of the east side looking down the hill. Work continues on the fourth terrace.


Iris Scale Sand Boxes

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Here's Iris looking into the fourth terrace which has just been completed except for the middle brace.


Starting the Last Terrace

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Starting work on the last terrace on a VERY hot day.


Last Terrace Finished!

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The last terrace is finished and all the cross ties and supports are in place. Now just waiting for the dirt to fill them. This will go slowly.


A View of the Completed Terraces

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This is how the completed terrace structure looks from our deck. It's bigger than I can get in the frame of this small camera. Next is a stairway on the right side, which is something that Iris has wanted since we started gardening down at the bottom of the hill.


Stairway Framed In

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The stairway is framed in; still to pour the footers along the left side and add in some dirt retaining boards on each step.


A View from the Bottom

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This is how the completed terrace looks from the bottom of the hill.


Planting in the First Terrace

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This shows the planting in the first terrace. The front (right) half of the bed is filled with mushroom compost and the back (left) half is built up with hardwood mulch. We did not fill the bed all the way to the top since we plan to top dress with more mushroom compost every year which will slowly bring the level up to the top. The planting consists of corn, beans, squash and sweet potatoes. Note that we have added a drip irrigation system. We are still experimenting with this concept and will have to see how it works out.


Planting in the Top Terrace

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In the top terrace, we put down a layer of hardwood mulch to build up the height and then used a mixture of mushroom compost and topsoil (mostly clay) in the front (right) half and leveled the walking path in the back half with hardwood mulch. You can see the tomatoe in the lower righthand corner; the rest of the bed up to the cross tie is planted with black-eyed peas. From the cross tie to the far side there are a variety of squash and cucumber plants. Maybe I'll add another picture when these are up and mature.


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