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8 Retaining Wall Ideas

If you’re looking to reshape the contours of a sloped property so you can have flat areas for patios and lawns, you’ll need a retaining wall. They may be landscaping workhorses, but retaining walls can be imaginative contributors to your curb appeal. Here are some great retaining wall ideas.

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Mastering Your Back Yard

Interlocking concrete blocks are assembled without mortar, come in many styles, and are available at any home improvement center. Simple — but labor-intensive — to build, a concrete block retaining wall is a good do-it-yourself project. Costs for materials are $10-$15 per square foot of wall face.


Credit: Amanda Quintana-Bowles/Flickr

Image: Amanda Quintana-Bowles/Flickr
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  • Interlocking concrete blocks are assembled without mortar, come in many styles, and are available at any home improvement center. Simple — but labor-intensive — to build, a concrete block retaining wall is a good do-it-yourself project. Costs for materials are $10-$15 per square foot of wall face.


    Credit: Amanda Quintana-Bowles/Flickr

  • Designed to hold back soil nearly 8 feet deep, this retaining wall employs big stones that were moved into position with heavy equipment. Despite the size of the stones, the builder has delicately sloped the wall to help resist outward soil pressure.


    Credit: R. M. Siegel

  • This wood retaining wall has the look of a friendly fence. For longevity, use pressure-treated wood rated for “ground contact.” Landscaping cloth installed behind the wall prevents roots from growing through the boards.


    Credit: GnomicScience/Flickr

  • Old tires find new life as a retaining wall on a towering hillside. Filled with concrete, these tires will last for decades. The builder has taken pains to install each row of tires level, which helps give the wall added strength. Reused, recycled materials save money; you’ll find old tires at tire centers, where often they’re yours for the taking.


    Credit: John Power

  • By combining raw, uncut rocks with cut retaining wall stone, the builder of this wall brought together two earthy elements. This design requires an experienced mason and careful planning; walls over 4 feet high usually require a permit, and plans must conform with local building codes.


    Credit: Caviness Landscape Design, Inc.

  • A terraced slope gains stability with the addition of simple rock retaining walls. Called “dry stack” because it doesn’t use any mortar, this type of natural rock wall is especially cost-effective if you have access to stone on your property. If not, you’ll pay $90-$150 per ton for loose rock, plus $30-$75 for delivery.


    Credit: Earth Works Lawn & Landscape, Vicksburg & Portage, MI

  • This kinetic design is made by applying a veneer of colored concrete over a solid block wall. Contrasting colors of concrete make the effect come alive. The materials are relatively inexpensive, but skill is needed to create the layered effect.


    Credit: Ron Odell’s Custom Concrete

  • Install a retaining wall at a craft school and you’re likely to end up with an expressive piece of art. This one features ceramic do-dads and baubles glued to a concrete wall then grouted into place. Putting 6-8 inches of drainage gravel directly behind the wall ensures that excess moisture won’t loosen grout.


    Credit: Copyright Robin Soslow, twitter handle @travelveg

  • If you like these, you may want to take a spin through HouseLogic’s library of slideshows.

     

  • Mastering Your Back Yard
  • Big Stones for a Big Job
  • Wooden Wall
  • Unconventional, But Effective
  • Mixed Media
  • Easy Does It
  • Waves of Concrete
  • A Wall of Art
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  • Image: Amanda Quintana-Bowles/Flickr
  • Image: R. M. Siegel
  • Image: GnomicScience/Flickr
  • Image: John Power
  • Image: Caviness Landscape Design, Inc.
  • Image: Earth Works Lawn & Landscape, Vicksburg & Portage, MI
  • Image:
  • Image: Copyright Robin Soslow, twitter handle @travelveg