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Old 09-10-2013, 09:21 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 25
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Terracing a yard

Hello all,

I am looking to buy a house which has a 1/4 acre lot. Unfortunately, the lot is sloped, making a good chunk of it unusable for most purposes.

One thing I really wanted to do was build a garage. In the photos below, the white dash lines are the property line. The road is gravel. I would want to build a garage with doors parallel to that white line. Setbacks are 15 ft, but the county is known for giving variances in this area. If I setback 5 feet, a garage would go up to where the tree is in the photo.

I've never done any hardscaping like this before and I'm not sure I'd be willing to try. I think this would be out of my range. But maybe I'm wrong - maybe it's within the range of a DIYer? I'd think you'd need to rent a bobcat/digger of some sort, and I have zero experience with this type of machine. Does anyone have any idea how much it would cost just to level this type of area and build a retaining wall? I estimated I'd need to dig 11 feet back (starting where the gravel ends), and at the rear I'd be digging down 4 feet. If it's a 2-car garage, it'd be about 22 feet wide. I guess that should equate to about 484 cuFT of dirt to be moved: (22*11*4)/2.

The 3rd image shows roughly the footprint it would occupy.

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Old 09-10-2013, 10:33 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Hartfield VA
Posts: 26,322

Terracing a yard

Just going to have to make some local calls to find out pricing. Ball park #'s will do you 0 good.
I'd start by laying out where you think you want to build a garage and see if they'll let you do it and go from there.

When posting in forums, letting us know your location will help others give better feedback/advice/solutions to your questions
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:48 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 25

Terracing a yard

Thanks Joe. If I owned the house, I would certainly do that. However, we just looked at it today. I don't really know orders of magnitude here. Would this be in the hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands? If it's the latter, I'd pass on the house.
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