At Green Monster Landscapes, we aren’t ones to shy away from a challenge – especially when it comes to a shoreline landscaping project in the New Hampshire Lakes Region. Truth be told, it is the reason we get a lot of our jobs.
This Pine River Pond lakefront residence was one of those projects that no landscaping company seemed to want to do. Just the logistics alone were scary enough – a steep slope with a 35-foot drop in elevation. Overgrown vegetation, very limited site access, and nowhere to store bulk materials. Due to their height, the retaining walls holding back the slope had to be engineered to withstand the load pressure behind them. Needless to say, this was not a job for the faint of heart!
The client was very excited to find someone who was up for the challenge. They had been navigating this treacherous backyard slope and dangerous stairs every day just to get to their boathouse and dock.
Take a slideshow tour through every phase of construction in this project by opening each tab below. Click on any image for a full-screen view. If you’d like to skip the step-by-step process, check out “The Finished Project” below!
1. Site Prep
After securing a permit from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services for shoreline construction, we began the job in mid-October clearing trees and excavating the slope. We dug an access ramp 8 feet below the foundation down the left side of the house. This project had to be built from the bottom up, starting with the retaining wall at the shoreline. We used specially-designed pallet straps for moving the many tons of landscape block where they needed to be to build the walls.
2. Wall Construction
Once the ramps and lower staging areas were built, we began the slow task of building the retaining walls. Many tons of landscape block had to be moved one pallet at a time with the excavator. To do this, we used specially-designed pallet straps for lifting the pallets without breaking them. Many tons of crushed drainage stone were also needed to back fill behind the wall. The slope was too steep to bring a dump truck down, so we made gravel chutes out of corrugated sewer pipe.
With the lower wall completed, we graded our way up, building an informal retaining wall using boulders native to the NH Lakes Region. The hardscaping portion of this project was completed by early January, just before serious winter weather set in. We returned in early May to plant native plants and perennials slope areas to hold the soil and satisfy the NHDES requirements for re-vegetating the shoreline.
3. Paver Path
Sometimes the shortest route is not necessarily the safest! Access to the shoreline on this steep slope required a meandering path. Because this project had to be built from the bottom up, the paver path was installed in conjunction with the slope grading and retaining walls.
60 split-faced granite steps were installed as the grade dictated. Staircases were built into the landscape block walls, while seven stair sets broken up by level walking areas helped to make the climb back to the house less tiring. To accomplish this, we built an informal retaining wall using native boulders from the NH Lakes Region .
We chose to use Antika concrete pavers from Techo-bloc installed in a permeable base. Permeable pavers were the ideal choice in this situation to reduce runoff and encourage natural water percolation back into the slope. And, because permeable pavers use a free-draining stone base, we were able to install it despite the frozen site conditions.
4. House and Deck
To make the best use of their backyard and take advantage of the awesome view, we designed and built a large deck coming off the back of the house. The existing poured concrete steps and path provided access to a basement door which was of no value to the client, while the ground was not level and provided no area for entertaining guests. We leveled under the deck with a retaining wall and built the deck stairs to directly access the shoreline path to the boathouse.
THE FINISHED PROJECT
This landscaping project on Pine River Pond took our Green Monster Landscapes construction team about 9 weeks from start to completion.