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Tags: building, design, green, heat, landscape, low, retaining, wall
Help. I recently bought a north facing house with concrete block walls in the back yard on all 3 sides. The back wall is 8" high , 74' across, with the ground sloping away from the wall about 6'. We want to put in a retaining wall 4" high and plant there.
Any ideas on green material that won't heat up in the summer months to the alreay cement filled area? Here's a couple photos. Thanks so much for your ideas.
Will there be irrigation available? Have you perused this publication from AZ Municipal Water Users Assoc:
You can search by different criteria a database of 200 different desert adapted plants. When I searched for "low Water" and "Shade" it came up with only 3 options:
I've got mint growing with ollas at the bottom of the north side of a wall at my place and I consider that deep shade... so the options are more limited than if you had some sun on that spot. You could try some "partial sun" plants from the list, but the results may not be as good. I'd be curious if anyone here has had other experiences...
Thanks for this link and your reply. What I'm needing first is what materials to use to build the retaining wall. I will have irrigation however I wasn't thinking of covering the retaining wall. I will plant native trees or fruit trees IN the bed behind the retaining wall. I havent found any eco type materials to build the retaining wall. Any ideas on that? Thanks.
We have jojoba on our N. side of a block wall, took it a long time to get big enough to peek over to reach the sun. Oleander (of course) always seems to do well anywhere, N. sides of block walls included :)
N. sides are tricky to grow on. Full shade in the winter when you want the sun, and full sun in the summer when you want the shade.
"Eco-type" materials for a wall...urbanite would work. Large boulders/rocks (not river rocks though) Check Craig's list for people selling materials to make walls. We have used those stackable bricks that lock into place that any big box store sells, and a section made with large rocks salvaged from a neighbor's back yard demo.
Keep in mind placing soil directly against a block wall is not recommended, tends to break down the block faster. 4 foot tall is a lot of dirt pushing against that back wall. The soil that is there looks extremely rocky, river rocky. You will most likely need fill dirt, can you get to this area easily with a truck? These photos feel like the whole back yard slopes...towards your house? Thinking about erosion, water drainage. Sorry for all the questions, but some things to think about...
Thanks Erika for your great ideas and commments. There seem to be more and more parts to this project. I think we will want to hire someone in the permaculture community who works with this type of project.
1. Material for the retaining wall which will be built as high as the ground level on the brick wall. The back neighbor's lot is higher, so that wall is the measure. We will build a retaining wall up about 3-3 1/2 ft and fill with soil we have. (amended for planting). We can get into the area easily with a truck. So perhaps stackable bricks. Seems the soil would erode using large boulders which look better to our taste, and railroad ties have their own set of problems. I will check craigslist for materials. GREAT idea.
2. The soil currently their is topped with rocks by the former owner. I will take those out before filling with soil. What to plant on the north facing wall is clearly what you suggested. I'd love to be able to plant food there but I'm concerned the summer heat will fry citrus. I will have irrigation there however I want to keep water usage low after it gets growing. So perhaps native trees will be the best option.
3. The north facing cement block wall encloses the entire back yard, about 75 feet, and yes, it does slope.
4. Most are saying that soil against the brick wall does not deteriorate the block. I actually do see it done everywhere from city municipalities to highways to yards. Will you tell me more on that please?
Thanks again for your detailed comments.
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