Landscape Retaining Walls

Landscape Retaining Walls: Ideas for Your Backyard Garden

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

A sloping piece of land isn’t very functional to have around your home. Leveling the foundation before building your home should take care of the job. But what about your backyard? We can’t let you just leave it untouched.

Luckily, there’s a solution to beautifying a sloping backyard and making it functional as well. The answer? Landscape retaining walls!

You can go conventional and use a retaining wall for the sole purpose of holding back the soil in your yard. Or you can also get creative with it so that it stands out and really complements your house’s aesthetic. Here are some ideas you can use for your own backyard garden.

Planter Walls

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Aside from holding back soil, people also commonly use retaining walls as plant beds. The reason? It’s the easiest fix for a rather flat-looking backyard.

Instead of having just a single-level sloping backyard, why not create layers to make it more dynamic? Retaining walls help you achieve these tiers easily without having to spend too much.

You can use just about any material for building retaining walls that also double as plant beds. Whether it’s brick, stone, wood, or concrete, it would work for most types of homes. It all boils down to your personal preference as to what would look best for your garden.

There’s also no limit to the kinds of plants you can use for your garden. Just take note, though, that you have to look up the plants that can be planted together without harming each other. Also, place water-hungry plants on the lower tiers of your garden so that they don’t dry up fast.

Garden Stairs

If you’re ready to install retaining walls to improve the landscaping in your backyard, consider using or any interlocking concrete block solution. Just make sure to consider how the finished work will look with your home!

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Another beautiful solution to a sloping yard is garden stairs. These can instantly make your garden feel fancier and more luxurious.

You can use retaining walls themselves as stairs leading to your backyard (or front porch). Or you can also design it so that the retaining wall connects to a set of stairs at the center of your yard.

And you know what would make these stairs so much better? Lights! Whether you place lights on the sides of your stairs or on the stairs themselves, they would definitely give your garden a more dramatic effect.

Backyard Fence

Image source: MagnumStone Retaining Walls

If you want a little more privacy in your backyard, you can also add a fence over your retaining walls. Or use these retaining walls as a fence or garden wall themselves.

There are instances where single tall retaining walls are more practical to install than tiered ones. For one, if you have limited horizontal space, tiered walls wouldn’t really work for you. They would just crowd your backyard further and possibly make it less functional.

For a backyard fence, you can use just about any material you wish—wood, iron, steel, or any other material that goes well with the other elements in your garden.

Patio or Deck

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When installing terraced retaining walls, you’re not required to make all levels uniform. You can perfectly have a plant bed on one level and an open patio or deck on another.

This also increases your property value by a lot. It gives you a proper space where you can entertain your guests while enjoying the outdoor breeze and catching up over coffee.

Also, if you decide to sell your house later on, a patio or deck can attract more potential buyers and drive up your selling price.

Outdoor Kitchen Setup

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Another practical solution to a sloping backyard is installing retaining walls that connect to an outdoor kitchen setup.

If you love the outdoors and consider barbecues an important part of summer, an outdoor kitchen might be a perfect addition to your backyard.

Use retaining walls to frame your brick oven and countertops. Through this, you can make all the different elements in your backyard more coherent.

You can even go as far as adding a fire pit for when you feel like having roasted marshmallows. Make sure you use the same materials as your retaining walls to frame your fire pit. Trust us, it would look so much better.

Water Features

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You can also use retaining walls to build the structure for the water features you want to add to your backyard.

Use retaining walls for a more dramatic outdoor pool setup. Just look at the photo above and see how the retaining walls gave the pool so much more character.

If you want to be closer to nature, consider adding a mini pond to your backyard garden. And if you love the sound of flowing water, try installing a mini waterfall. It’s more relaxing than you might think.

Driveway or Pathway Marker

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If you have underground parking or your garage is in your basement, consider installing retaining walls in your backyard. These can serve as a marker for your driveway. It not only makes it easier to see but also makes your whole space feel more luxurious.

If you’re all for that modern aesthetic, try using wood for your driveway marker. Instead of installing it horizontally, do it vertically for a more high-end look. This gives it more impact and makes your retaining wall more stunning.

And even if you don’t have an underground garage, you can definitely still use retaining walls as a pathway marker. It could serve as a guide for your guests. But more than that, it gives your backyard a more finished look.

Installing Retaining Walls

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With all the things you can use retaining walls for, there prove to be more reasons to install them in your backyard than not. And what’s more, you can even mix and match different materials for different tiers in your garden. Who’s to say you can’t use retaining wall blocks with stones or bricks?

To recap, here are some of the landscape retaining wall ideas you can use for your backyard garden:

  • Planter walls
  • Garden stairs
  • Backyard fence
  • Patio or deck
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Framing for pools, ponds, and mini waterfalls
  • Driveway or pathway marker

If you’re ready to install retaining walls to improve the landscaping in your backyard, consider using MagnumStone retaining walls or any interlocking concrete block solution. Just make sure to consider how the finished work will look with your home!

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Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.