The picture above shows the view from the storage shed located in a lower, remote area of the yard.
Notice the timber steps one would have to navigate to get to and from the shed. These steps, the homeowners told me, made it difficult to store larger equipment like the snow blower and wheelbarrow. Their wish was for a new type of access to the shed that would eliminate the landscape steps.
The solution was to create a small switchback (see below), which would overcome the height difference with two gently sloped ramps. Anything with wheels on it could now be rolled up or down the ramps to the shed.
The mason contractor, Lester Szajna, used the same ashlar Kearny stone from the patio area to build the retaining walls and give a continuous look. The decorative gravel is a “salt & pepper” coloration that blends well with the other elements.
Switchbacks are a great solution for navigating elevation differences in the landscape without landscape steps.
Driveway switchbacks are common on steep sloped entrances. You must have enough depth (front to back) to the slope for a switchback to work. Using a scale drawing of the sloped area, along with topographic measurements you can draw out the switchback concept and determine if it will work within that space.
A civil engineer is sometimes required by the town to submit the drawing and specifications for approval and the necessary permits.