People often see retaining walls just for holding back soil on a slope.
But, with some imagination, you can use them for more. A retaining wall can create space for patios or seat walls with a fire pit. Plus, you can plant flowers, trees, and shrubs on the tiered sections.
In this blog post, you’ll learn more about transforming your retaining wall from boring to a wall that pops with color and serves as an outdoor destination space for family and friends.
The Basics: What Are Retaining Walls?
While segmental blocks and natural fieldstone provide dramatic statements for your property, retaining walls’ functions lie in their ability to:
- Hold back soil
- Prevent soil erosion
- Handle excess rainwater
If you have a slope in your yard, a retaining wall adds more value to your landscape than simply holding back soil. How can retaining walls be decorative and useful beyond the basics? Here are three ways that you can use retaining walls to enhance your outdoor living space:
- It adds usable flat space that can be turned into seat walls with fire pits, patios, or more turf areas.
- It adds depth and interest to outdoor spaces by creating a tiered garden with trees, shrubs, and other plants.
- It makes better use of landscaping space. It’s not just a slope anymore that’s hard to grow anything and to mow.
At Campbell and Ferrara, we design and build retaining walls for our landscaping customers. We primarily use fieldstone and segmental blocks as our building materials; however, alternative solutions such as boulders and timber may work well, too.
Retaining Walls in Garden Bed Design
Retaining walls can be used in garden bed design. Your retaining wall garden can include boulders, urns, outdoor lighting, and water features.
Want to add some drama? Then, include cascading plants like petunias and alyssum that grow over the retaining wall edges while providing color and pleasant fragrance.
Consider a dry stacked stone wall to give your wall garden design a feel for bygone days. Stones are stacked and held together by weight and interlocking shapes—not mortar. Fieldstone provides natural beauty and unique textures for rustic charm.
If you need to move water away from your home, consider a dry creek bed with fieldstone or incorporate a babbling brook and waterfall.
Retaining Walls as Dual-Purpose Seat Walls
Make your retaining wall perform double duty by adding a second patio or half-circle seat walls with a fire pit. If you enter your backyard through basement-level doors, consider a patio with a pergola and seat walls as added elements.
Seat walls are a must-have for an outdoor gathering space, especially if you invite many friends and family to your get-togethers.
Natural stone is a conversation starter and, coordinated with patio pavers, creates a unique look special for you.
Don’t forget to add a stairway made with fieldstone or patio pavers to connect the different levels of your retaining walls.
Add outdoor lighting to your seat walls and retaining walls to enjoy the outdoors well into the evening. Also, make your seat walls comfortable by adding outdoor cushions and pillows that pop with color.
Retaining Walls: Tiered Hillsides and Erosion Control
The retaining wall’s main job is to hold up an embankment.
When you add native plants on the retaining walls’ tiered sides, it improves the look of your landscape and boosts the wall’s function. The plant roots enforce erosion control.
If you want a layered look to your landscape, go for tiered garden beds with multiple levels that provide a dramatic focal point.
A tiered landscape provides height, depth, visual appeal, and diverse plants, such as native perennials, shrubs, and trees. For example, certain conifers add shape and form to a tiered hillside. They also draw the eye upward.
Even small retaining walls can incorporate tiered gardens. For the fall, you can add seasonal colors, such as chrysanthemums or ornamental kale.
If you have a steep slope on your property, whether at the front of the house or in the backyard, hire drainage contractors to redirect excess runoff on your retaining wall with a perforated drainage pipe just below the surface.
Your drainage contractors will install the pipe across the slope’s direction and away from your home. They’ll position the drainage pipe in a gravel bed where no one knows it exists.
Why Hiring a Pro Landscaping Company is Key for Your Retaining Wall
If your property includes hilly areas, slopes, or other land fluctuations, then you need to hire the team at Campbell and Ferrara to custom-design your retaining wall. You’ll get a flat space for a garden or add a new patio with seat walls for entertaining.
Boost your landscape’s look with a tiered garden for more depth, texture, and appeal. Book your consultation at Campbell and Ferrara by calling us at 703-705-7491 or filling out our consultation form.
ARJLandscape.com, Using a Retaining Wall as Part of Your Patio Seating Plan in Your Lewis Center, OH, Backyard.
BackyardBoss.com, 20 Charming Retaining Wall Ideas.
BloomnGardens.com, Retaining Walls: Where Functionality Meets Design.
GrowingaGreenerWorld.com, Using Terraces or Retaining Walls to Control Erosion.
PlattHillNursery.com, How to Build a Retaining Wall for Your Garden.
RossenLandscape.com, Stop Slope Erosion and Beautify Your Yard with Retaining Walls.
ThreeSeasonsLLC.com, Retaining Wall VS Seating Wall—Which One Should You Choose?