I really like the idea of planting small trees next to a retaining wall like in this example. It seems like a good way to have a barrier between your lawn and shrubs. I wonder where I could find a mason to do something like this for our house.
I'm surprised by how much water it takes to water my lawn. I would like to replace my grass with something that doesn't take so much water. Planting desert plants with some decorative rock would look really nice in my yard, and it would help me save money on water.