The rock wall is no more! Just before the driveway was poured, we discussed possibly sharing a fence with our soon-to-be neighbor. Since they were just contemplating digging their foundation, he didn't know how he wanted to manage it. But we were left with the problem of having the west side of our backyard several feet higher in elevation.

In order to save money, we had a rock wall installed. We didn't use fake rocks, but rather used landscaping boulders that needed to be moved mechanically. They were put in place on our property line and then the cement driveway was poured.

Sam was never entirely happy with the rock wall. As retaining walls go, it's rather high maintenance. To top it off, the driveway was narrower than he planned due to the width of the wall.

This month, we poured a retaining wall and finished out the width of the driveway with cement. We now have a nice pad for our trailer and (future) boat. It's easy to maintain and less likely to erode or cause problems.

We also brought in dirt to bring the level of the garden area up to the rest of the yard.

The most important benefit of the cement retaining wall — as far as my boys are concerned — is that we are now ready to install a fence. I'd be happy with a cool bamboo fence, or any other that provides a level of privacy and protection from the deer. But the boys want a dog — and that requires a real fence.

This summer we hope to get the garden area ready with planters and irrigation. The next step will be to get bids on a fence that will enclose our yard and contain their future dream pet.