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Elevations Changes in Arizona Landscape Design

Elevations Changes in Arizona Landscape Design

Elevations in my opinion are what will add the most drama to a project. The more and extreme the changes in an Arizona landscape design the better as far as I am concerned. Obviously the more drastic the change in elevation the more problems can arise. Most property walls are 6′ tall. Raise a patio and you can start to view your neighbors lot and they can start ho view you. If the property is large enough you can place the raised portion of the patio more toward the center. If your property ends at a wash or NAOS more choices come your way.

Lowering an area poses different problems. Here I go talking about water again. You have two solutions as I see it. One is to have a drain pipe pitched to a lower area. I would say 2″ for every 10 ft at a minimum. The other option is a sump pump. To do nothing is just like putting blinders on. It will rain, even in an Arizona landscape. Water will sit here no matter if you sink the area 6″ or 36″

If you were to ask me which is the better way to go, I would say it depends on the situation. I once did a project where the homeowner wanted to change his granite. Creating a raised area gave us place to use the granite. This saved us money on removals and on fill. We still needed fill, but not as much.

Whether or not you go up or down you still need to build a retaining wall. When going up you build it to contain the fill you are building on. When you are lowering the deck, you are building a retaing wall to hold back the earth from your new lowered area.

One thing to keep in mind is that elderly people are not usually fans of elevation changes. It’s the steps that are what really presents the problem. So here I may recommend gradual grade changes much like ramping.  That is if the client was very onboard with the idea of an elevation change or if it is needed because of necessity.

A home I am doing now has a 6″ elevation change at the front entrance and the circular driveway. What I proposed is to take out about six feet of walkway in front and behind the step and create a ramp. The deferent situations that you can encounter in an Arizona landscape design will be great.

Lighting goes hand in hand with elevation changes. Step lights, path lights, spread lights, wall wash lights and specialty lights all have their place in elevation changes. I am not going to go into too much detail on lighting in an Arizona landscape design. There is so much to talk about here I want to leave that to a separate blog.

So there you have it. The ups and downs of elevation changes in landscape design. A pretty good title I think


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