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I live on a corner home and the street/sidewalk on the right side of my home travels up a slope. The way my yard is currently designed, the right half of the yard follows the same slope, but not the left, almost at no angle at the front of the yard, but at an increasing angle as one goes towards the back of the yard. The pictures probably explain it better than my words.. in any case, what I want to do is add a retaining wall and remove excess soil in order to flatten out the lawn area. Due to the slope, the wall would also need to be sloped. There is a small section of block wall at the highest point of the front yard area, that I could remove if needed (I'd consider some white picket style fencing to ensure nobody "falls" into my front yard from the adjacent sidewalk), but if I didn't have to remove the wall that would be even better. I don't want to cut in from the existing wall as my yard just isn't wide enough for that to make sense in my opinion. Is there a way to build a sloping (not stepped) retaining wall (maybe concrete with some form of decorative facing) so I can have a flat yard (I want to install new sod and sprinklers as the next project eventually.. and yes the palm tree will be going away and I'll be tweaking the fence between the front and side yards too). Any suggestions or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks! Yard 1 Yard 2 Yard 3 Yard 4

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    If you remove the soil on your side of the brick wall then it appears that you will expose the roots to the tree near the side walk. How do you deal with that. Is it your tree to kill. If it is your tree, do you want to save it? If you remove all of the soil then the retaining wall does not need to be sloped, it can be flat and its highest point would need to be as high as the earth it is holding back on the other sides. You can make it higher. I do not get to see palm trees as often as i would like, can you send me yours ? – Alaska Man May 6 at 19:03
  • Yes, plan was to remove the excess soil but what I mean from the wall needing to be sloped is it needs to get higher as goes back towards the palm tree..pics don't show full yard but there is no slope toward house at the front right corner and it's only as one goes towards the palm tree that the slope on the right side gets higher and higher so it can't be 1 height. – Talynne May 6 at 19:24
  • That tree is the city's so yeah that's an added issue/headache. Honestly don't know where roots go... when I moved in there were 9 small-med trees on the sloped area of my yard overhanging back half of the front yard and touching the edge of the house roof that I had removed so it's possible the city tree's roots head under the road in the other direction from my yard due to competition. I'll gladly send you my palm tree if you pay for shipping ;) – Talynne May 6 at 19:25
  • Trees send out roots 360 degrees. I am sure the tree roots are at least partially under the soil you wish to remove, i can see that a major root has heaved the cement curb at the end of the wall up. – Alaska Man May 6 at 19:44
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What's behind the wooden fence, your back yard? Does the slope get even taller back there? Would you dig out that slope and continue the retaining wall there? You can reasonably build a retaining wall 3-4 feet high without major engineering but when you get to 6-8 feet high it has to retain much more weight (8x as much according to This Old House) and takes more engineering. This may be more than you want to get into.

As Alaska man asked, is the tree next to the sidewalk yours, or is it the city's? What do you plan to do with the brick wall? It would need to be supported or removed also. Would removing the tree or brick wall require city permits or an engineering study? This may also be more trouble than it's worth.

With palm trees and bare dry dirt, I'm guessing you're in a dry area in the south western United States. I'm in the central U.S., where we have thunderstorms 8-10 months out of the year. A good thunderstorm or two would wash that loose dirt slope down against the house and risk toppling the brick wall so I would leave the slope as-is and sod it or put in low ground cover to hold the soil in place. If I used grass I would then have to mow it. I prefer a smooth slope I can just push a lawn mower up, rather than have to pull out a string trimmer for a few square feet of grass on top of a retaining wall. For long-term durability and ease of maintenance, I'd recommend just adding sod or ground cover and leave the slope alone.

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