Terracing/redi-rock retaining walls
We are trying to make a quick decision about terracing our yard, which slopes so much that it is unusable. We've wanted to do it for years, but put it off because of cost. We now have an opportunity to do it for a reasonable price by piggybacking on our neighbors' project.
They had their similar yard terraced last fall, and are now putting in a pool. They brought their yard up 12' at the rear using two 6' retaining walls separated by 6' (this part of their yard they have effectively lost). We were talking last fall about having their landscaper give us a quote, but I did not pursue it, assuming that the cost would be too high. Now they are back, digging out the pool, and I finally spoke to the guy. The cost is reasonable, and we are considering it and would like to make a decision by the weekend. They would use as fill some of the dirt dug out for our neighbors' pool (giving us a cost savings).
Our yard slopes so much that the grade difference between our patio next to the house and the lowest point along the rear property line is 16'. Our plan would be to put a 6' (max) retaining wall along the rear property line; the ground is uneven enough that the wall would fade away to nothing behind the garage. We would extend our patio 4-6', and the ground would be cut away, giving us a larger patio with an adjacent 6' retaining wall, and a flatter (1.5' grade to the rear) yard.
The material that the landscaping guy uses is cast concrete blocks (Redi-rock) that fit together like Legos. I have photos below showing the material in our neighbors' yard. I am wondering whether this material would look all right - it is white, although it is supposed to darken over time. It would need to be masked with plants. We would also have steps made out of this material leading from our bluestone patio through the wall to the lower level.
Any opinions/advice would be welcome. I have some photos:
Looking up at house from back of yard. That overgrown bush will go. The pile of dirt is from our neighbors' pool; it will either be used in our project or removed next week. The old stone retaining wall will be buried if we do the project.
Our neighbors' upper retaining wall at the corner of our property. This is the material we would use. Our existing old retaining wall can be seen:
Another view of our neighbors' two retaining walls from our yard:
The rear of our house from halfway down the yard. Our patio would be extended forward 4-6', and the ground cut away so that there would be a 6' retaining wall with steps going through it from the patio to the rest of the yard, 6' below. This wall could be straight or curved.
View of our neighbors' terracing from our patio:
View of our garage at the opposite side of the yard from our neighbors. With the new grading, the ground would be fairly level at about 1' below the siding: