The backyard of this house in Simsbury cuts into the existing wooded hillside, and to hold the bank, the house builder constructed a two-level, wooden timber, retaining wall. At just about ten feet high, at its highest point, it dominated the yard and was rotting and beginning to fail. We were tasked to replace the wall and retain the bank, without creating a structure that was as intrusive as the original wall.

Our solution was to create a boulder wall, with plantings between the boulders to hold the soil, soften the look, and provide a pleasing aesthetic. The wall was demolished and hauled away, and four truckloads of boulders, some as big as four or five feet across, were delivered. The hillside was re-graded into a gentle slope and the boulders were placed to hold the bank and look naturally occurring. Once the boulders were placed and the surrounding areas graded, soil was added to fill all the crevices and plants were added. The area is partial shade to full shade, and plants were selected accordingly. Shrubs including Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel, Leucothoe, and Hydrangea, were added for structure. Perennials, including Hellebore, Bugloss, Ostrich Fern, Mukdenia, Creeping Phlox, Japanese Painted Fern, and Hakone Grass, were added for both foliage and flower color.

Foliage color and texture blend with the rugged boulders creating a natural transition from wood line to the yard, and blossoms add extra splash through the season. The retained bank is now a pleasing shade garden and not a dominant structure.

P.O. Box 512     |     Simsbury, CT 06070
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