What is the best way to hold up sloping backyard for terraced garden?

I have a 3 foot slope from back wall to flat area that is currently covered with rocks and held (barely) by railroad ties. We live in desert area, so not much will grow without lots of waters. cactus of course! Any ideas?
Morning sun, afternoon shade.
q what is the best way to hold up sloping backyard for terraced garden
  8 answers
  • Shoshana Shoshana on Feb 08, 2018
    This should get you started-you got this! https://www.doityourself.com/stry/gardenterraces

  • Rae Rae on Feb 08, 2018
    Shelly I have a house that is built into a hill. I had a hill where the house ended and the yard began. I had the railroad ties for many years but then we went with the blocks which are available at any home improvement store. This has been over 20 years ago and I never have been sorry. They haven't shifted a bit in all this time and not to mention it is over a 10 foot wall. It is costly depending how how high you plan on going but well worth it!

  • Lynn Lynn on Feb 08, 2018
    Drill holes every 3 to 4 feet and add some 4 to 6 ft rebar. Then add plants this should help keep the soil intact.

  • Carol Carol on Feb 08, 2018
    Our landscaper used giant rocks. That wouldn’t be DIY though!

  • R Walter R Walter on Feb 08, 2018
    Those railroad ties were not put in properly to begin with. They should have had a rod driven down into the ground thru a hole drilled into the ties to hold them in place. You need to check with your local building code to see how high you can go with retaining wall blocks without having to put reinforcement behind to keep them from falling over. These blocks run a little over a dollar a piece but they are a long term solution to your problem. I did a nine foot fence three blocks high In front of another section that is four blocks tall and it has worked perfectly for me. You could also do a step process that has two levels to create some visual interest. Had a drainage specialist come in and put a french drain in so that now I have no standing water and the neighbor's garage in front of me doesn't flood anymore. Good luck

    • Shelley Shelley on Feb 08, 2018
      They did have rebar, but the new dog and weight from the stone above bent them over. I will try more rebar. I hear the ties are hard and difficult to drill through.

  • R Walter R Walter on Feb 08, 2018
    Another thing you could try is putting some iron fence post about 3 or four feet behind the ties and then putting large screw eyes into the ties and run some steel cable from the eyes to the post that you have driven into the ground (may have to move some rock to cover the cable after) or you could slip it over the rebar that you replace and that will give the ties some stability at a minimal cost. All the supplies can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowe's and would probably be the cheapest fix. This will work if the ties are not rotten and would have to put two to three cables per tie. Also, the ties should be staggered (joints) to give more stability, not just staked one on top of the other. As to drilling holes in the ties, you just need to gradually make the hole bigger and use a wood bit with at least a 1/2 inch drill. It can be done just requires a little muscle.

  • Lola Lola on Feb 11, 2018
    In my opinion you could use it to your advantage by creating an accent wall. I would plant an accent tree and use led lights to light at night. I have seen it done numerous times. You could use Jasmine vine along the wall because it prefers indirect sun. Be careful with your plants because you are in zone 7a with low temp of 0F. If you want to learn more about what shrubs do well in your area just drive around the neighborhood and check out what does well.
    Good luck

  • 27524803 27524803 on Feb 11, 2018
    We live in Arizona... so wood does not hold up well here... we used landscape blocks around our mobile home (where the area was built up for a "ground set" )... we dig a shallow trench and use decomposed granite rather than sand... the blocks are easy to set and have the "hood" on the back so they don't get pushed forward... you can set the first row on a concrete footer if you wish... but make sure the first row is set level.. side to side, with each other, and front to back.. (my husband does the carrying and I do the leveling and setting)