Terrace Landscaping Ideas

A step by step visual guide to creating a multi-layered yard.

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Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Photo By: Image courtesy of Pearson Landscape

Tame the Slope with Terracing

Architect Gregory Thomas of CG&S Design Build designed a complete makeover for the front yard of a Texas home. The new multi-terrace lawn, reinforced with steel retaining walls, was installed by Pearson Landscape. This renovation also added water conservation features into the plan.

Steel Terrace Project, Step 1: Strip and Start Over

The first phase of converting this front yard to a terraced landscape is to remove the existing ground cover and began shaping the mounds of dirt.

Steel Terrace Project, Step 2: Operation Backfill

The crew creates the first tier of the yard and backfills it with a mixture of 2/3 compacted road base and 1/3 high quality topsoil and compost to create a hard foundation that will not expand, contract or shrink. 

Steel Terrace Project, Step 3: Yard of Steel

The terraced yard will be supported and reinforced by steel walls that will also function as a drip irrigation system for new plantings. 

Steel Terrace Project, Step 4: Take It to the Next Level

The terrace design for the new lawn begins to take shape as workers install steel reinforcements for each level of the yard. 

Steel Terrace Project, Step 5: Down is Up

The new yard is given a slight incline which will create a uniform look with the raised terraces once the ground is ready for plants and vegetation again. 

Steel Terrace Project, Step 6: Level Playing Fields

Each steel wall supported terrace has been designed for drip irrigation, filled with earth and leveled off in preparation for the planting stage.

Steel Terrace Project, Step 7: Center Stage Flagstone

The main street entrance to the house is a final touch and features a striking elevated walkway made of a natural flagstone known as Oklahoma stone.

Steel Terrace Project, Step 8: Soil Essentials

Workers prepare the terraces for new plants by installing the drip irrigation and covering the earth with mulch.

Steel Terrace Project, Step 9: New Kid on the Block

The new plants are all in place and the terraced landscape will soon blend in naturally with its surroundings as if it was the original front yard design.

Steel Terrace Project: Lush Borders

The side of the yard that borders the driveway offers an attractive multi-level view that is highlighted by terraces of Mexican feathergrass (Nassella tenuissima), Gulf muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and native turfgrass.

Steel Terrace Project: Native Survivors

In addition to the attractive native grasses, these terraces contain other drought tolerant plants that are popular in the southwest such as 'Amistad' salvia (on the top tier next to the porch) and 'Little Ollie' dwarf olive bushes (Olea europaea 'Montra') that run along the middle tier.

Steel Terrace Project: Sidelong Glances

An entirely different perspective is offered by this view of the top tier terrace from the opposite side of the house. 

Steel Terrace Project: Lure of the New

This enticing view of the front yard from the street draws your eye up the terraced steps to the front door for maximum curb appeal.

Steel Terrace Project: Top Turf

Minimal lawn maintenance is required with the new terraced yard since the top tier is the only space dedicated to a grass plot. 

Steel Terrace Project: Layered Vegetation

Each terrace level has its own distinct style and plantings. River rocks run along the edge, 'May Night' salvia, 'Iceberg' and 'Martha Gonzales' roses populate the descending slope, firecracker ferns (Russelia equisetiformis) and autumn sage (Salvia greggli) are featured in the middle tier, marigolds border the staircase and native turfgrass occupies the top tier. 

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