Retaining Walls as Landscape Features

Despite their practical uses in shaping your sloping backyard, retaining walls can be used to create some stunning backyard designs and even form central decorative features in their own right. Here we’ll look at how you can contribute to the aesthetic of your Bethel, NY landscape using this underutilized feature.


Retaining walls can bring texture to your landscape in a variety of ways. The texture of the material you choose for your retaining walls can complement that of your plantings, or offer something completely different. Coarse natural stone can offer the rough, rugged feel that your landscape needs to counter the fine textures of reeds and threadleaf evergreens, while smooth, plastered and painted walls are ideal for the minimalist texture needed for a modern counterpoint to a granite walkway. Stacked slate veneer can create the perfect fine detail to complement a flowerbed of large leafed plants, or add to the visual complexity of a English country style landscape.

Related: Retaining Wall Options: Natural Stone, Concrete Veneer or Painted Plaster


Another way in which retaining walls can liven up your yard and take a prominent position as a feature is through the use of color. The deep shades of red brick retaining walls repeated throughout your yard can create the basis of a rich, warm color scheme that can be accented in your flowerbeds with vibrant flowers or complemented by the deep green surrounds of boxwood hedges or lush ground cover. Retaining walls can also be used to accent the coloring of your home’s facade by selecting the right material and matching color.

Retaining Walls as Landscape Features Bethel NY

Stone or Concrete Veneer

Retaining walls are an excellent way to showcase the beauty and craftsmanship of natural stone or quality concrete products. Whether this be to add curb appeal or to form a feature wall for your fire pit or outdoor fireplace area, stone and concrete products are a great way to add attention grabbing aesthetic. Be it the cool charcoal tones of bluestone, the attractive variations of flagstone, or the coarse grains of granite, let your retaining walls feature the material that captures the character of your landscape.

Related: 5 Ways to Spruce up Your Retaining Wall for Summer


To protect your retaining walls from weather damage, as well as to contribute to the style of your walls, capping is an essential element of the aesthetic of retaining walls. A contrasting color or type of stone can be used for capping in the same way that you might add bordering to your driveway or walkways. Broad, smooth slabs can be used to allow your retaining walls to double as seating, or more ornately carved capping can be used to contribute to the style of your landscape. Capping also provides an excellent crevice for the installation of unobtrusive landscape lighting.

Shaping your Backyard

Of course, the ability of retaining walls to control and alter the topography can not be understated. To create the free flowing and meandering lines needed for a rustic landscape, or the neat and tidy terraces of a modern yard, retaining walls not only form features of the landscape, but also transform the landscape into a scene worth surveying. The arrangement of retaining walls is as important in creating an attractive landscape as the materials they’re made of. Let us help you create a landscape design that makes the most of the lay of your property.