I wish I had done a better job taking "before" pictures! But this area was once all grass -which would dry out quickly in the summer and we haul our water so we do not water it (we were told by the fire marshal that the dry grass should not be so close to the house on account of fire danger). Instead, I am installing these terrace rock gardens, with xeriscape plantings - they will need very little water when they are established. The driveway on the right has been raised up about 5 feet....I wanted this done before I built any more terraces. Had we not raised the driveway, I would have needed to build several more levels of terraces.
To build a terrace, I just move the dirt around shovelful by shovelful until I have it sort of leveled off. I stack clumps of sod on the outside edge of the terrace and this holds remarkably well (I have some that have held for 4 years without any other support. I have been dry stacking granite from the Beartooths on the upper terraces and we have a permit to collect more this summer through September. I hope we can make enough trips to finish this up this year! Anyway, it is nearly ready for planting even without the dry stacked granite. I will need to install the drip irrigation lines, but then I will be able to plant my iris rhizomes when they arrive. Good progress on the five year plan!