Asked on Oct 11, 2015

What can I do with this backyard?

by Joseph
My backyard is at a 30 degree angle slope, and it comes right up the back door. I've got 2-3 inches clearance, max. As it is, the yard is entirely unusable, so I'd like to put up a deck. The problem is, there's mo place to attach a ledger board to anchor to the house. Do I build a free-standing deck? Is building a deck an option? Is there a way that I could afford to put in a retaining wall? I need advice. Help!
q what can i do with this backyard, concrete masonry, decks, landscape, outdoor living
  12 answers
  • Elizabeth Gilbert Elizabeth Gilbert on Oct 12, 2015
    I had a similar situation with my front yard. Not as large as your back space, but similar problem. I scavenged sites and collected enough pieces of concrete chunks, but also purchased some complimentary basalt rocks. Dug a trench myself, but had a guy build the wall, simply by slapping concrete to ensure that chunks "fit" ... no fine and finished look. I then had good fill-dirt brought in, topped off with 1.5 ft. of good grade garden soil that was tamped and rolled. Very reasonable costs. I see no reason why you couldn't build a deck. I once saw plans for a deck on a reworked slope where they made holes through the decking in strategically appropriate places and inserted whatever-inch diameter metal piping hammered deep into the ground beyond the new (soft) fill dirt to keep the deck anchored. I think if you used long enough pipes so that there was sufficient length above the deck, you could build yourself decent deck fencing to finish off the look.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 12, 2015
    Instead of trying to build a deck you can put large pavers in the yard for a nice seating area. Once that is done I would make containers gardens all around for color and interest.

  • Kathy Kathy on Oct 12, 2015
    I would contact a professional deck installer to get his thoughts on adding a deck. Ask him plenty of questions. That should give you some idea of whether you'll be able to do the job yourself. The same for building a retaining wall. We have a retaining wall around our pool. After 15 years, it has started to sink and buckle slightly.

  • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Oct 12, 2015
    I think a deck is probably the best option and you can use pier supports (probably with some concrete footings under them) or some other way to anchor the deck boards. It would be best, at the least, to get info on how to accomplish this. Retaining walls are tricky and there is a lot of info in landscaping books about how to do needs a lot of back fill with rock and gravel before you finish off with soil and would be at least as expensive as a small deck. I do think a professional, in this case, is in order.

  • Martha A Pilon Martha A Pilon on Oct 12, 2015
    river rock garden with tall grasses

  • JOHNNY JOHNNY on Oct 12, 2015
    Recapture your yard ! Find the property line and stack it, come back 6 inches or less depending on your certainty of the property boundaries. Then using retainer block which you can purchase at home depot / lowes or any supplier start laying the block, You will hive to remove the grass along that line to lay the block & using a setting bed of sand to lay the retaining blocks, remember keep it straight & level side to side and front to back on the 1st course, after that it is just setting the block. Then back fill w/ soil which can be gotten for free from a construction site, & or go to a dairy and get the manure for free. Level to existing height desired

  • Z Z on Oct 12, 2015
    If you are not planning on DIYing this, I'd contact a local deck builder and ask them about digging down enough at the foundation so you can have a deck built at the proper level to step out from your back door onto. I'm not sure what your frost footing are in NC, but here they go 42 inches. This map should help you with that.

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  • Danielle Danielle on Oct 16, 2015
    You can certainly put in a freestanding deck, and it will likely be a whole lot cheaper than a retaining wall. Another problem with retaining walls is that if you have a home owners association, which judging from your pic and where you're located I bet you may, a lot of them have big bylaws or regulations on whether or not you can have them and what they look like. If it were my house I'd start the deck far enough out from the house that I wouldn't have to dig out to go level from the exterior door, (which doesn't look like it would be that far) and put a wide path of pavers out to the deck with planting beds on either side to take up the space between the deck and the house. If you carefully design your plantings you can even mostly disguise the small amount of slope that will be in the bed. Oh, and I would only put rails on the front and sides of the deck, not the side facing the house.

  • Sarah A. Victory Sarah A. Victory on Oct 16, 2015
    First I would call (3) deck companies w/good BBB standing and get their opinions and bids if they can build it like you prefer. I don't believe the slope should be a problem as they do taller supports where needed. This will also make you some storage space if needed and I would ask the builder about that also. Remember to consider whatever shade needs you might have also w/the deck. Sometimes a queston brings up new and different challenges. :)

  • Gregory Lovas Gregory Lovas on Oct 19, 2015
    I wouldn't do a deck... I would use versa-lock blocks and Omni-stone pavers to make a larger semi-circle patio as phase 1. You may need to actually bring some fill in for this. you could actually fill in around the wall a bit and plant flowers or bushes along the edges to provide some privacy. I would then build a pergola or do a power awning that comes out to provide some shade as a phase II. Decks are too much maintenance these days.

  • Janet Janet on Oct 20, 2015
    I would not call anyone. We put those simple square paver from home depot down many years ago.. They have worked just fine. Just make sure that they are below the door opening so water want run in. A little slope away from the house is fine. Before level as best you can use sand under if you want to and sweep it across the top when you are done.. But ours was hard enough we didn't need any sand. Wood deck would work but it will be more work and really close to the ground. Mine look great after 20 plus years andI just put a top on this year with indoor outdoor rug. Just an idea.