River Rock Retaining Wall

Living at the base of Ben Lomond Mountain requires methods and techniques to drain rain water into Love Creek. The challenge is ensuring that fences, sheds, and pathways intersect with water flow and hillside movement. Often, things have to be assessed, improved, and/or changed. We slowly navigate through a design pattern that blends humans, animals and nature as a working permaculture.

Before, the surface above the garden was sloped and not conducive for adding a retaining wall:


A small wall existed from old telephone poles and metal stakes (June 2007):


In August 2009, fill dirt was dumped on the upper terrace which fortunately built up the hillside. The extra dirt came from the horse corral that was partially dug out to add gravel for improved drainage. This provided the opportunity to expand the garden into an upper zone.

By February 2010, a greenhouse was added on the top, and the space was designed with garden plots and a walkway up to a future garden deck.


Next, we searched for large river rocks at various garden shops. We opted for granite river rocks to match the color and style of the rocks that had been pulled from Love Creek by the previous owner. Tons of river rocks were delivered and dumped. The stones were layered without any drainage gravel. Plants, such as yarrow and cat nip, grow in the soil between
the cracks.



March 2010

March 2010

March 2010

June 2011

Change in Design:

Originally a long walkway was designed below a garden bed filled with grapes to access the garden deck stairs.

March 2010


It turned out that another garden plot below the walkway did not “fit” correctly in the shape. We also encountered a very low water table where the area filled with mud and water leaching up from gopher holes.  As a solution, the walkway became the perfect raised garden bed.  The fill dirt was removed, layered with gopher wire, and composted manure was added for healthy soil.

May 1 2011

July 1 2011

July 2011 flowers