SuPeRnOvA and SwEeTpAiN: How Terracing Can Dramatically Increase Your Usable Backyard Space | SuPeRnOvA and SwEeTpAiN
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How Terracing Can Dramatically Increase Your Usable Backyard Space

At first, it just looks like something hip and decorative, as if pulled from the pages of a home and decorating magazine. As it turns out, though, terracing one's backyard also can make it much bigger in one respect by greatly increasing the amount of useable space.

Terraced retaining walls create added dimension to any landscape as well as increasing useable space and functionality of an otherwise unruly hillside.

The Incans knew this when they built Machu Pichu in the 15th century. The "Lost City of the Incas" in the Peruvian mountains is an early example of terracing and a complicated drainage system being used to maximize basically every inch of available farming land. There's no way an ancient society could have survived as long as it did in that rugged locale without sophisticated use of terracing. Remnants of Machu Pichu's terracing system can be found on-site to this day, among the things that stick out and remain a wonder to its visitors.

In the modern world, the need for terracing is less dire, though it can still serve an important purpose. Anyone who's ever bought a house on a hillside knows of the frustrations that can accompany this. There isn't much that can be done with a hill on one's property. It's not safe to let children climb on, impractical for hosting guests and not much will grow on it either. At best, maybe it works as a natural fence.

Beyond this, an untreated hill presents a risk for erosion anytime it rains. Untreated soil can easily shift downhill if agitated by water or catastrophic weather patterns. This in turn can imperil property and those who reside in it. At the very least, it can create an unsettled, messy backyard with loose bits of mud strewn about.

The solution is to have an established mason or landscape company design, construct and install custom retaining walls and terraces (http://tamatelandscaping.com/retaining-walls-terracing) to transform one's hill of despair into a modern Machu Pichu (Modu Pichu, perchance?) 

The walls can be made of a variety of materials including stone, concrete or bricks. Depending on one's budget, the cost isn't exorbitant, either, and the work can be executed in a short timeframe.

The finished terraces allow a number of uses. They can be used as walkways with grass, wood chips, or decomposed granite. And anyone inspired by the Incans can use their backyard terraces for gardens. After all, what worked in the 15th century can still work today.

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About the author: 
Thomas Gilbert has worked as a landscaper within the Bay Area in California for over 30 years, and has transformed thousands of backyards into oases for his clients. He is now retired and works on only one project, his own.

4 comments:

  1. This is something which will interest my husband as he is really into maintaining our small backyard.

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  2. Interesting. So now I know there is so much more to terracing than to beautify the home.

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  3. great info, indeed, for every structure, there is usually a specific purpose than just aesthetic, function and beauty twogether, is an awesome combination

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a classic - form meets function kind of thing.

    ReplyDelete

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