With a huge variety of possible materials, designs, shapes and features, retaining walls are quickly becoming a staple in landscape design.
- Make a drainage plan:even the strongest stone retaining wall can bulge, or even come tumbling down, if it’s forced to hold back too much heavy, wet soil. When you’re building the wall, add a drainage system using perforated plastic tubing and a decorative outlet. You’ll thank yourself when even the most torrential rain doesn’t cause the soil to damage your new wall!
- Explore your material options:stones, blocks or bricks aren’t the only options for a great-looking retaining wall. Some homeowners choose to use pressure-treated wood ties because it’s less expensive, lighter to work with and can be stained to match your existing decking. Others like to use large boulders, but those can be tricky to find, move and use. Ask questions before just agreeing to a material to make sure it’s the right one for your property and your budget.
- Choose a plan
- Plan for your gardening abilities:for some folks a wall is a wall, and that’s all they need. It’s strictly functional. But green-thumbed homeowners like to make retaining walls with tiered or curved garden beds to show off their beautiful flowers. If you’re not into gardening, make sure any tiered levels can be sodded and easily mowed, or plant large shrubs that don’t require any special care.
- Consider built-in seating:many retaining walls boast little benches and seats, all smoothly incorporated into the design. If you don’t have a lot of seating in your yard then this could be a great way to add seats that blend in beautifully with your new wall.
- Add a set of steps:if the retaining wall is going to separate a higher part of your property from a lower part, why not build in a set of steps? They’ll give your yard an interesting tiered look and add dimension to your wall.
Have fun with the leftover materials: if you’re left with some extra bricks, stones or blocks once the retaining wall is complete, consider using them to create a simple fire pit in the backyard. Mark a flat ring in your yard, remove the grass, spread a base of sand and arrange the bricks or blocks in a circle. You usually only need to make the circle two blocks high, depending on their height, and it’s the perfect way to use up your leftovers. S’mores, anyone?