Retaining Walls

How to Landscape a Steep Slope Without Retaining walls


Host:

I’m taking you into a project today, where thinking outside of the box saved a customer twenty thousand dollars. We’re going to be transforming your yard, aren’t we? We’re going to save you tens of thousands of dollars instead of rebuilding this retaining wall. We’re going bring this slope in.

Customer:

And stop my patio and three season porch from falling into the woods.

Host:

Yeah, it’s falling down. Too many times people automatically fall into this belief that they have to reinstall what is already in place. Oftentimes what is already there is a failed design or inadequate for their updated needs and their circumstances. I’m here with the customer, so now that we’re done, what do you think about, from where we started the concept we started with, which is kind of unusual? We didn’t rebuild the retaining wall, what we focused on was eliminating the need for retaining and cutting your budget by nearly half, by doing so.

Customer wife:

I absolutely love it, my husband and I both love it. We felt like we killed two birds with one stone. Not only did we save this area of our home a retaining wall but we also gained a back yard, which is going to add significant value to our home, so we’re very pleased with that. We got a good twenty feet here of extra back yard by about hundred feet long, which is massive. We have a wonderful slope that my son will be able to use in the winter to go sledding. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Host:

Every time that you go out to view a project I want you to train yourself to automatically generate three unique options for that particular site. The first will typically be just reinstalling what has already been done. You’re going to evaluate the existing design, see its strengths, look at its flaws and then give an estimated generated quote to redo that project. The second option is going to usually be a modification of the original design with improvements and with changes so all the weaknesses, all the flaws of that original design are going to be eliminated and the project’s going to be updated, that’s option two. The third option is going to be something completely unique; it should have absolutely no reflection of what is already in place.

Customer:

I want to say, hats off to you guys, they work very well together, they’re very efficient, they’re very professional, they made a giant amount of progress in two days. Yesterday they had just an unbelievable amount of dirt to shift and they work like clockwork doing it all day until it was done.

Host:

I think that part of the success is because of the new operator we have.

Customer:

Is that right? Who is your new operator?

Host:

He’s sitting on my operator’s lap!

Customer:

Oh, hey! How did he get in there? That’s outrageous, I hope you’re paying him.

Host:

How old is he?

Customer:

He’s eight.

Host:

He’s eight years old and look at him go! Look at him go, he’s moving soil. I love it! Tim was saying that he was out here for an hour and a half watching the guys working.

Customer:

He watched them, he watches them constantly and I’m the same. I had to take a PTO off work this week because I’ve been watching them work. You can’t not watch them.

Host:

Man, that’s awesome, when you learn to look at a project and give three unique options, you open the door to possibilities for yourself as a contractor and possibilities for the customer to be able to potentially afford a project that may otherwise be out of their reach. The unfortunate truth is, these customers purchased a home in the middle of winter, the backyard was covered in snow and they had no idea of understanding what their backyard actually looked like when springtime came around. What they found was, they had a backyard filled with failing retaining walls.

That’s where the three option rule came in; we looked at the existing retaining walls and priced those out. The project’s sum came to over forty thousand dollars. Then we came to the third option and that’s when we hit the golden ticket. The idea was instead of installing retaining walls at all, we’re going to eliminate every retaining wall on the site, and instead, we’re going to create gentle slopes. We’re also going to import enough fill soil that we can give this customer a flat yard from the back of their deck for the first time ever.

Options

What we really want to do is, we want to level this whole backyard off. Then as we come to the tree line we’re going to create a slope going down, right to the toe of the tree line.

When you compare and contrast the cost on the price per square foot for an engineered retaining wall, because the walls would have had to have been seven to eight feet tall, engineering Geogrid reinforcement in the soil, permits through the city, the cost would have been almost double of what I could do from just bringing in structural fill soil and grading it over the site and creating gentle hills down into their backyard.

Instead of having a retaining wall that they would never see, what they did get was a flat backyard, a sliding hill that we installed for their kids that they could safely go down and have a path going into the into the woods, twenty one extra thousand dollars in their pocket and they get to keep their homes. A win-win situation for the customer. You’re going to land more accounts; that’s all I want from each and every one of you. The status quo doesn’t work nowadays, it just doesn’t work. God bless, take care.

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