The ground in front of my house slopes down fairly aggressively from right to left. This leaves an awkward sloping garden bed between my driveway, house, front steps, and sidewalk. See photo below.

full view of bed

There's currently a poorly-constructed retaining wall helping to level this bed out, but it has to run into the railing for my porch steps, which means I have bricks haphazardly placed underneath and around the railing to try to "complete" the wall.

closeup of railing area

Unfortunately, this wall does not provide enough elevation, and soil is still eroding from under my driveway. I'm concerned that, over the long-term, the driveway will sink and crack.

driveway closeup

I'd like to come up with a solution that 1) protects the driveway, 2) keeps the bed level enough to avoid topsoil/mulch washing away, and 3) doesn't involve my front porch railing becoming part of a weird wall... I'm hoping to remove and replace the sidewalk and wall anyway, so that can change as part of this project.

Here's ideas I've had...

  1. Divide the bed in the middle with a wall, possibly made out of landscape timbers, so that the bed could be at two different heights. (I think this would look silly.)
  2. Build a wall next to the driveway to keep the soil under the driveway stable, and lower the whole bed.
  3. Move the railing onto the top of the edge of the steps, rather than next to the steps, so that a wall could begin beside the steps and go all the way around the bed.
  4. Eliminate the wall entirely and just hope things don't wash away. (Seems unlikely.)

I've talked to several landscapers and a mason, and nobody seems to have any fantastic ideas for solving this problem. Is there a creative possibility here I haven't considered? I realize that the "best" solution is a matter of opinion here, but I'm open to helpful recommendations that will open our eyes to all the possibilities.

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