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Raised patio, bringing in dirt and building raised landscape bed

7 years ago

I have a large patio that is about 4' off the
ground. (See pic). I'd like to bring in dirt and build a raised
landscape bed around the patio. 1. transition into the yard better
without an ugly railing messing up the view 2. eliminating railing cost. I am
in zone 7/Northern Virginia. I don't want to use more retaining walls as
I have so much patio and walls there already, it's a bit too much. The
rear yard is massive, almost an acre and a half of lawn.

2 landscapers
helped with ideas/design but hadn't done this before. The plan was to
build a raised landscape bed 3' in width and then use another 3' of grass to
transition into the yard. I am still struggling with the height of the
bed. I need a drop off of less than 24" (required by code for

I'm trying to figure out how to build this, aside
from dump dirt there and rake it. 1 suggestion was to tamp down the 3'
transition into the yard the best possible and then lay sod on it immediately
to stop erosion.

For planting I was considering something simple,
i.e. boxwoods and maybe a small Japanese maple tree.

My thoughts on plan:

  1. Get a small enough truck to bring dirt directly there.
  2. Dump dirt to top part and then grade the 3' flat and then finally 3'
    transition into yard.
  3. Plant sod immediately
    ? leave top for a week or so to see if it settles?
  4. Plant a few boxwoods and a tree and mulch

1. General comments/sanity check?

  1. What is the right height for the bed/drop off. i.e. I was using
    3' leaving a 12" step because I thought that would look better for
    such a high patio vs. leaving 18" or the full 24." To fit the
    bed under the stair height, it will have to be a little narrower closer to the
    steps at 3'.
  2. What is the right height for the plants/boxwoods to end up above the
    patio, i.e. 12" or so?
  3. Am I ok with the DIY approach on this? I may need some labor help
    but is this too complicated for a relatively inexperienced landscaping
    homeowner. It doesn't seem that difficult to justify the amount of money
    a landscaper would charge. I wish I could find a landscape designer to
    provide some onsite guidance.
  4. Is the 3' width for transition too steep?
    Thank you for your time. Conrad

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