I guess it’s obvious which is the “Before Picture”. Nor is the “After Picture” completely finished at the time of these pictures. Yet, I feel this look includes the scale of the project and also deals with exactly what sort of preparation goes into projects such as these. This was a backyard of a home with a fabulous 270 degree view of Reno, Nevada. Reno’s skyline downtown and most of the surrounding mountains, including the Sierra Nevadas are included in this breath-taking property’s views.
What were doing in the ‘before’ picture above were the basic excavations. As I hope is obvious, the excavations were on two levels. It is easy to see the cut just off the lawn; Kenny and Romero are standing and wasting time appropriately, just above the cut. What may be less obvious is the cut in the foreground, which was far more deep and every bit as challenging. Once done, we were able to add about a foot of base material as a structural support for the walls which were erected above it. We packed it densely, then began with our first course of modular wall blocks along a straight line, both in grade and in length. Naturally, after a certain portion of the wall was built, free-standing, we added drain rock behind and a tube draining the collected water and disposing of it off the sides. This took care of the ever-important hydrostatic pressure which forces many walls out of shape.
We finished the walls and backfilled, compacted numerous times, then began the detail work. The upper wall did have 2 - 16 foot wide waterfalls, both faced with a beautiful copper tile. As the water spills over the edge of the tiling, the color comes out magnificently. In the above picture, we had yet to add the tiles.
The paving area was fairly huge, with small amounts of grass surrounding it. Lighting was distributed throughout the brick paver patio, inset into the bricks, providing some secure footing when the crowds convened.
Here are 2 looks at the aforementioned site. One can see why the view is valuable in this one. It truly is breathtaking. These both are pictures of the neighbor’s work, who decided to commence with his own version of the project next door. We therefore extended the wall along the same identical axes. What is shown here are the steps leading to and from the neighbor’s upper and lower patios. The camera is looking Westward in this picture.
The other shot is along the perimeter wall and provides the view of the city and Eastern mountain range, looking South.
And here is a Winter look at the finished product, stricly dealing with the falls system. As mentioned, there is an identical set of falls exactly like this, separated by the stairs leading up to the lawn area. We set lights inside the falls, 3 at the bottom of each set, turning the sheet effect into a positively phosphorescent waterall at night. A closer look, by clicking the image reveals the strikingly interesting copper-colored slate material we used, as well as a carved figurine imbedded in the center.
This was a pretty elaborate enterprise, taking over a month to construct. The result was pretty amazing, really.
Here is another before and after series. This ‘before’ picture takes place after some work has already been completed, yet it also shows much of the process itself of grade-changing wall-making. The goal during changing grades is to lessen the severity of the slope sufficienetly to allow for some form of activity to more comfortably take place, whether it be human activity or that of landscaping, simply made to enhance the plants’ abilities to survive as well to provide a general horticultural ambience. In this case, it also presented a structural sense of interest – and an attention-getting slice of beauty unconsidered from the top, looking down.
Now, when they look out, they see a civilized terraced atmosphere, more restful and far more interesting than staring at a hill leading up to the road. The entire effect reduces the view to a more personal perspective and the plantings serve to deter the road noise from irritating the senses as well as become increasing more beautiful as the flowers develop and the years go by.