For most Orange County, NY homeowners, the words “retaining wall” conjure images of pesky slopes, soil erosion, and runoff horror stories. In plenty of instances, retaining walls are absolutely necessary to stabilize and hold earth in place. Often foregone, however, are the ways in which retaining walls can elevate your landscape’s design and functionality. Not yet ready to give them a chance? Read on for the six creative uses for retaining walls beyond battling gravity.
Make a Horizontal Landscape Pop
If you’re working with a dull landscape, retaining walls lend instant dynamism. Clever placement literally carves layers into a yard, adding texture and vertical depth. Wall materials come in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns, too, meaning you can not only sculpt, but embellish your landscape. Alternate flat, functional outdoor spaces with beautifully planted slopes and you will render your land usable while heightening visual appeal. If, on the other hand, your yard is completely flat, build low walls topped with planters to break up the landscape and invite contrast.
Seat Wall Saviors
While extra seating might seem like a by-product of retaining wall design, permanent seat walls are actually a valuable asset to your landscape. For example, perhaps it’s an unusually warm winter day and you would like to enjoy your outdoor patio. Seat walls ensure you will have a comfortable place to sit, even if all your patio furniture is in storage. The same holds true for front entranceways and driveway spaces. In some cases, building codes may require railings for raised patios, making seat walls an aesthetically appealing and practical remedy. Planter walls are also splendid perches both for admiring and caring for your garden.
Shape an Outdoor Kitchen
Think retaining walls can’t be useful in an outdoor kitchen space? Think again. Seamlessly integrate a grill station into a retaining wall so it does not distract from the beauty of your yard, nor take up valuable space. Additionally, tall retaining walls can be angled to prevent grill smoke from blowing onto friends and loved ones during windy days. A wall can also help separate outdoor cooking and dining spaces, allowing your top chef to cook in peace.
Perfectly Placed Lighting
If you want to light up your nighttime yard without bold or awkward shadowing, flat retaining wall lights not only provide safety after dusk, but light up a darkened landscape without disturbing unity. Many companies offer wall lights which emulate a variety of hardscaping materials, too, which means they will be smartly disguised during daytime. If you do prefer a dramatic approach, install sleek lights under the lips of retaining walls to showcase your property in bold style.
Protect Your Pool Design
Why let a sloped landscape stand between you and your dream pool design? Use a retaining wall to level off land, creating usable space for a backyard pool. Retaining walls will also direct water runoff and debris away from the area, leaving your pool free of dirt and harmful lawn chemicals, if used. Or, go for high-class by embedding an infinity pool design straight into the leveling process. At the very least, a well-placed retaining wall will prevent accidental splashes from reaching those on the hill above.
Surround an Outdoor Fire Pit
Heavily sloped property can be an excellent haven for an outdoor fire pit, and a retaining wall completes the job. Nestle a cozy gathering space into your hillside with a rounded retaining wall, finishing the look with a circular fire pit and curved seating. Seat walls are a popular choice for encircling an outdoor fire pit with stadium - or amphitheater-style seating. However you choose to incorporate a retaining wall into your outdoor fire pit design, it is guaranteed to lend warmth and intimacy on a chilly night.
With these 6 clever uses for retaining walls, you’ll never have to think of them as boring “fixes” for a sloping landscape ever again. Incorporate them into your landscape design and be wowed by the difference a smartly placed retaining wall can make!
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