Extension to replace retaining wall - garden at window level? Help!

Jess Burton
last month
last modified: last month

hi all,

Would really appreciate any help!

We have bought a house where we had hoped to do a 3m single story extension then push back a retaining wall another 3m to create a patio area and dig out ugly raised section of the garden. We are getting quotes in for the extension which as coming in around what we expect but we have not fully understood the cost and significance of removing the current raised area, we are getting quotes for around an additional 15k which is really not in budget at all!

to save money an idea us/a builder has come up with us to build out and ’build in’ to the current raised area - so for most of the kitchen the garden would start at window level - it’s already lower on the left side so we could have a door/french windows that side without too much digging out. We would have the extension as the new retaining wall itself. We could then tart up the current raised area fairly cheaply.

Has anyone done this? Do you have any pictures? would it look odd to have to kitchen looking out at that level or could it be a nice feature?

I have attached pictures that will hopefully sshow better than I have explained!

Any my thoughts of where I can see some pictures of similar would be amazing!!


Comments (10)

  • PRO
    Kingfisher Designs
    23 days ago

    Its not uncommon, georgian terrace houses had the lower ground floor rooms half burried. Personaly I like that half burried style as it feels cosy, like the house is snuggleing into the landscape.

  • PRO
    NCM Building Ltd
    22 days ago

    It would be a lovely feature and would feel like the garden is part of the kitchen if you landscape the raised bed well.

  • keiblem
    22 days ago

    Wales is full of damp houses built into a hill!
    The house wall would still have to function as a retaining wall and it would have to be dry. Have you worked out the comparative cost of both? I would be inclined to stump up the extra cost and set the ground well back from the house.

  • Sonia
    22 days ago

    Would it not affect the damp proof course?

  • keiblem
    22 days ago

    I am no expert but I imagine a DPC is the least of your worries. I expect the house would need to be tanked and the rainwater runoff would need to be redirected somewhere away from the house. Consideration would have to be given to neighbouring properties. You cannot channel water onto a neighbours property. Whatever method you chose it will cost and I would rather pay to have the land cut away to a safe distance away from the house leaving the house high and dry particularly as we are seeing more and more episodes of torrential down pours which we are advised will only get worse. Sorry about the doom and gloom scenario but I have viewed lots of houses with varying degrees of hill sitting on them and they were all damp even one where the owner had already spent a great deal of money tanking it to try to resolve.

  • pjdklm
    22 days ago

    I levelled my garden, a paved area of roughly 6m x 6m that sloped upwards 2 1/2 feet. We also got crazy quotes for digging it out, which thanks to the joys of a London terrace had to be done completely by hand with bags of dirt carried through my kitchen. We ended up managing that part ourselves with help from casual, non-builder labour. (Turns out the guys at the local gym don’t earn much, have some spare hours, and have lots of friends in the same boat.). I studied up on retaining walls and became convinced that a timber retaining wall would work. We bought treated timber through Jackson’s Fencing using their slotted fence posts for support. The retaining wall/ new fence was professionally installed, but they had very little digging to do to tidy up the removed area. Six years later it’s still going strong and I fully expect it to last.

    Jess Burton thanked pjdklm
  • keiblem
    21 days ago

    AGI: You have made a very valid point. We are so numbed by the astonishing quotes waved under our noses that sometimes we don’t see that someone might be trying it on. The oft repeated mantra is ’get three quotes!’

    By the way I love your website. You have created some beautiful gardens.

  • PRO
    AGI Landscapes
    21 days ago

    Thankyou Keiblem.

    Have been designing and constructing gardens for over 20 years, now back to my roots as just a designer, I miss the construction.

  • keiblem
    21 days ago

    I studied horticulture, garden design and landscape architecture but didn’t enter the field. I have seen a lot of garden designs and landscaping in my time and I have to say that yours are up there with the best.

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