Neighbors across the street from friends in the Richmond neighborhood installed a new steel retaining wall early this year. Their lot is on the northeast corner of an intersection, and both sides of the sloped front yard had been covered by that type of no-maintenance juniper planting you see all over Portland. You know, the ones that always smell like cat pee.
The homeowners designed the wall themselves, then had it fabricated. They had weep-holes cut into the metal, and backed them with screening. The wall is installed on heavy-duty footings, as you can imagine.
Once the soil was backfilled they started landscaping this spring. They used lots of Mediterranean and drought-tolerant plants and shrubs: with just one summer's growth, the results are spectacular.
The steel is slowly gaining a nice patina. It's an amazing improvement, and a beautiful solution to retaining the garden slope.
I really like the way the modern lines of the wall complement their attractive midcentury ranch/bungalow. As nice as it already is, it'll be even more interesting as their garden matures around it over the next few years.