Backyard Rescue & Renovation in Eagle Harbor

Materials: Gravel; Stone Dust; Pavers; Wall Block; Drainage Parts; Compost; Fescue Sod; Seed; Plants; and Mulch.

First Step: HOA Approval

Mud, slime, and moss- this space was nasty. The shady slope in this backyard was bordered by a wetland protection buffer. The need for a wall to create a flat, dry yard couldn’t be more apparent in this case!  We got to work right away getting the necessary approvals for this project. Up first: the Eagle Harbor HOA!

Approvals Secured, Materials Purchased

In 2015, the developer had cleared this lot right up to the wetland border. After successfully demonstrating the need for change to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, we were granted approval to construct a retention wall right on the edge of the buffer- and no farther. We also had to be extremely careful not to disrupt anything past the buffer border.

A Deeper Foundation

The next step was securing approval from Isle of Wight. We presented our plan and materials for the retaining wall project, along with the plans for grading. We made it through (even though it took a few months), and were given the green light from Isle of Wight Stormwater and Zoning Departments. The building permit was released!
​With the hard part was behind us, we scheduled the project and got right to work.

Retention Wall Specs

The project consisted of the following: building a 76’ long retention wall with a drain system and downspout tie-ins, a small paver patio, irrigation adjustments after backfilling, a small landscape install, fence relocation, and of course a brand new sod lawn.

Because we were right on a wetland buffer, we assumed we would run into some ground water, so we planned for a deeper, stronger foundation than is normally required. We got started by removing the existing fence, and started the wall foundation. We used Eagle Bay 8” Diamond Pro block, which goes up quickly but weights 74 lbs. per retention block! No need for a gym membership here!

The retention wall block was installed on a bed of heavily compacted, clean #57 stone, which we separated from the native soil with a thick geotextile fabric. Close to the base of the retention wall, we used perforated corrugated 4” drain tile packed in with more #57 stone, almost all the way to top of the wall. This stone and drain field is also separated from the native soil with geotextile fabric to keep soil migration to a minimum. The geotextile fabric also acts as a giant filter for the drain keeping soil from entering the 4″ perforated corrugated drain tile.

Final Installation and Landscaping

After dodging rain storms, the retention wall and main drain were in place. We then ran a secondary drain from the home. We connected two downspouts in solid 4” PVC drain pipe and ran them through to the outside of the retaining wall. As we backfilled, we made the adjustment to the irrigation system to compensate for the additional soil and height. We used a total of 40 yards of soil.

With the grade now set, we re-installed the fence at the new height along the wall. Due to the drain field behind the wall, the fence was held about 14” off the retention wall. We installed a few tons of brown river rock with fabric in the space between the Eagle Bay Highland Stone XL Wall Caps and fence to keep our client’s future maintenance as low as possible. We also used a bit of river rock around the back flower beds. 

Before we completed the finish grade for sod, it was time for a small paver patio to go in. We used Eagle Bay Chatham XL for the paver space. We needed the space to be just large enough for a few chairs, and to act as an easy transition to the backyard from the deck stairs. We then installed Burford Hollies along the outside of the fence, and replaced a few weak shrubs along the side of the home. We wrapped up the whole yard with dyed brown hardwood mulch, and a light composting and aeration.

That Finished Feeling!

Our landscape was complete! With the tall fescue sod installed, there was an an instant finished feeling in this once-disaster-of-a-backyard. There were many moving parts to this project.

This newly level, slime-and-moss-free backyard tipped the scales at just under $22,000.