Retaining walls are primarily known for their ability to prevent erosion in areas of varying elevation yet they can also open up more usable outdoor space in yards with steep slopes. With a retaining wall, you can have a gorgeous patio built on a hillside or create an aesthetically pleasing, sunken-in fine garden. Whatever the reason for your retaining wall, this feature could add significant beauty to your landscaping in Lynnfield and Boxford, MA.
Related: Masonry Ideas: 6 Retaining Wall Options for Sloped Backyards in Swampscott and Weston, MA
What Is a Retaining Wall?
A retaining wall is a manmade structure of concrete wall blocks or stone. While they look beautiful, they serve several functions. The wall is positioned in the ground to hold back soil in areas of the yard that have drastic changes in elevation. It helps prevent the soil from eroding and sliding down the slope over time. Retaining walls also add usable space by creating level areas in yards that have steep slopes.
If water rushing down a hill toward your home or structure occurs, retaining walls can also serve to redirect the flow of water away from the foundation. Some retaining walls may require a drain line installed behind the wall, consisting of a gravel base and a pipe that carries the water away to a safer area of the land. This prevents water from building up in the soil along your retaining wall and causing damage to the wall, and the surrounding landscaping, over time.
Why You Might Need a Retaining Wall
Is your yard hilly? Retaining walls can divide the landscape and provide several layers of flat, usable lawn in between. Maybe you want room for an outdoor dining area or seating area around a fire pit, but you are not sure whether the elevated surface could accommodate such a plan. Landscapers may suggest leveling a section of land and holding it in place with a retaining wall to create a more usable area of your property—that you can use however you like. Another option could involve terracing the area with multiple retaining walls at different height levels and place flower gardens in each layer.
Design Considerations for Retaining Walls
Depending on the amount of slope and your design preferences, your retaining wall can blend in with the surroundings or purposely stand out, whichever you prefer.
While many retaining walls are built in straight lines, you can also use curves and patterns to add beauty and interest to your landscape. Expert landscapers know how to curve retaining walls to suit the shape of the property while also serving their functional purpose.
Get More Out of Your Retaining Wall
When you’re investing time and resources into having high-quality retaining walls built, you could also use the opportunity to add other special elements to your yard. The same materials used for retaining walls could be used for creating a fire pit or for creating a landscape bed. They can delineate various activity spaces in your landscape, such as where you want to dine and relax or where you want to cook—a retaining wall could visually contain the outdoor kitchen, for example. You could also use a low retaining wall for extra seating space.
Related: 5 Masonry Ideas for More Enjoyable Backyard Living in Boxford and Lynnfield, MA