We rented a backhoe last weekend to carve out the driveway and use the fill dirt around the house.
The guy just dropped it off without really explaining anything but I figured out the controls pretty easily. We carved out the front of the yard flush with the street up to the driveway.
The deck took a little beating when I was pouring dirt in around the sides. I haven't worked on the outside of the house since I built the deck last summer. It's held up pretty good though. The steel railing I made is kind of rusting a little, but it actually looks kind of cool I think. No? Now that we have this big sloping wall in the front yard, we need to figure out a retaining wall. I was thinking either smooth concrete with slats like I did on the back deck, or rocks inside a rebar and mesh wall. We really need to finish painting the house too, and figure out landscaping, and the driveway.