Putting up walls can be a good thing. That is, if you’re talking about retaining wall ideas in your landscape design. “At the basic level, a retaining wall is a structure that holds or retains soil behind it,” explains Joe Raboine, director of Belgard Residential Hardscapes, an outdoor hardscapes company. “Though retaining walls are most commonly used to create a functional area out of a sloped terrain, they do serve other functions.”
You might think that retaining wall ideas are all about function—after all, retaining walls prevent soil erosion and reduce the risk of flooding—but they are not all utility; these structures can enhance an outdoor space by creating levels, evening out a hillside, and even using pavers to produce a pathway. “They can also be used to create topographic interest or create smaller features, such as raised garden beds,” says Collin Koonce, director of landscape architecture and urban planning at BKV Group, a holistic architectural design firm, based in Washington, D.C. These builds can even double as seats or corral all your backyard greenery in a neat landscape.
Aesthetically, a retaining wall can turn an unworkable incline on the land into usable, uniformed surfaces, notes Mauricio Lobeira, Monterrey, Mexico-based architect, interior designer and cofounder of Ten Plus Three. “Many retaining walls end up as garden or terrace backdrops,” he adds.
What’s more, creating a retaining wall can boost the value of your house. “Flatter and uniformed surfaces are more expensive than steep ones,” Lobeira says. “Steep surfaces almost always have to have some sort of intervention in one way or another.” Retaining wall materials including concrete blocks, bricks, wall stones, railroad ties, or treated timbers—allowing for plenty of hardscaping options that suit your house. Here, 40 creative retaining wall ideas that are a step above the rest.
Concrete retaining wall with flower beds