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stairs retaining wall ideas for a sloped backyard

Landscaping has been experiencing something of a boom over the last few years as gardeners have been making the most of their outdoor space, however steep their lawns might be. Often this involves the addition of a retaining wall for added support and, of course, aesthetic value. These 12 simple retaining wall ideas for a sloped backyard are ideal as they blend functionality and style seamlessly.

But before we delve into the details, let’s explore what makes the humble retaining wall such a brilliant choice for a steep or sloped back garden. If you’re already clued up, feel free to skip to our compilation of retaining wall ideas.

timber retaining wall

First things first, the benefits of installing a retaining wall

In landscaping, a retaining wall is built against a higher level of the garden, holding in the soil on one side to maintain a lower level on the inverse. This is beneficial for a whole host of reasons, both big and small, but here are just a few of the main ones.

Adding functional space

This is a huge upside to building a retaining garden wall. Whilst hills and sloped ground have their own charm, they tend to eat up valuable space that ends up being unused due to its inaccessibility or the difficulty of landscaping it.

With a retaining wall or walls in place, you can create a more functional space that will allow your garden to live up to its full potential. Whether you make room for a patio, lawn or flower bed, framing it with these structures can add a pinch of drama whilst opening up the area for your family and guests to use with ease.

Providing structural support

As we mentioned previously, retaining walls function to keep the soil fast in place, particularly in contexts that involve landscaping hills, bumps and uneven ground where these walls are the first barrier against soil sliding down in a landslide. As such, retaining walls act as a necessary safety feature for your garden, protecting it and its users from harm.

Fighting against soil erosion and flood damage

This leads on from the previous point; retaining walls are a clever way to fight off soil erosion and provide flood control measures. This is because the soil is contained and managed, allowing you to keep it in place – ideal if your garden is lacking the root systems from trees and shrubs that hold the ground together.

What’s more, you can landscape your garden with the aim of reducing sharp drops or the overall gradient of your back garden. This means slowing down surface runoff and reducing erosion. If you want to go a step further, you could even integrate water drainage into your planning to future-proof the space and protect it from flooding.

They look gorgeous!

This should be obvious: retaining walls can provide an interesting and eye-catching aesthetic for your garden or tie an entire look together. Thanks to their versatility in style, materials and size, there are so many options available that will blend in naturally with the existing features in your garden.

12 retaining wall ideas ideal for a sloped backyard

Speaking of versatility, here are 12 of the most appealing retaining wall ideas ideal for a sloped backyard, curated by us so you can create a dazzling yet practical outdoor space.

stone retaining wall ideas for a sloped backyard

1.     Create a tiered retaining wall with raised flower beds

A retaining wall can serve multiple functions at the same time. Just take these raised bed retaining walls; not only do they reinforce the soil, but they provide a controlled space for your greenery to bloom and, of course, an enchanting flourish for your backyard’s design. Truly, raised beds are one of the most versatile features around!

2.   Put some old railway sleepers to good use

Railway sleepers can be used for so many things and one of the most popular of these is – you guessed it – building a retaining wall. Ideal for injecting a sense of pastoral charm, these huge timber blocks are the perfect way to complement a lush garden lawn and bring added structure to the natural contours of your garden. And if you prefer the modern look, you can get them new too!

3.     Try a retaining wall made from stone

Here’s another interesting way to introduce a natural, rustic ambience into the space. Whichever way you swing on the spectrum between jagged and smooth stones, this style of retaining wall works wonders for a cottage-esque décor.

a water feature retaining wall

4.     Draw attention with a retaining water feature

For a splash of drama, consider a retaining water feature to round off your garden. Get the placement right and you’ll create a dynamic finish that helps water flow where it should and then into the basin below. Add some lily pads and other greenery and you might just encourage frogs into your garden!

5.    Go au naturelle with a timber retaining wall

Wood never gets old. It’s an inexpensive and popular choice well suited to retaining wall flower beds. Just be careful with the timber as used wood may contain preservatives that leach into the soil and harm the greenery. You can avoid this by opting for woods such as cedar that possess a natural resistance to fungus and rot.

6.     Add a trellis to your retaining walls

Of our retaining wall ideas for sloped gardens, this is one of the prettiest. And the best part is that it’s fairly easy to attach your trellis to the retaining wall, as long as you get the dimensions right. Once installed, you can add fragrant climbing plants into the mix and enjoy the flowery scent on hot summer days.

concrete block retaining wall ideas for a sloped backyard

7.     Modernise your garden using concrete

Nowadays, retaining walls are seen as a design choice to add a touch of contemporary style to your outdoor space. And this couldn’t be truer of these sleek concrete walls.

Simple yet elegant they can blend into any exterior décor, with their porous properties offering a helping hand with drainage. If you’re not a fan of concrete in your garden, you could swap it out with traditional blockwork in a similar style to achieve the same look.

8.     Blend your decking into the retaining wall

If you choose a similar raised wall material to that of your decking, you can blend the two effortlessly. This works a charm for minimalist, contemporary styles and can provide extra support for the ground around raised decks for above-ground swimming pools.

9.     Try a log cabin retaining wall

Log cabin wood is such a versatile material, so why not use it to build your retaining wall? Construct the wall from layers of vertical logs if you’re going tall or some small landscaping logs for a lower wall. This creates such a cosy feel that works so beautifully alongside flowers with bright pops of colour.

timber retaining wall ideas for a sloped backyard

10.  Build layers into your garden

If you haven’t got much space to work with and you want to introduce intrigue or disguise the dimensions of your garden, building layers into the area is a good way to start. Work vertically with multiple waves of retaining walls and see an unusable slope into a terraced backyard with different levels for gardening.

As the cherry on top, you could even introduce steps through the middle that climb up to the uppermost platform, which you can use as an inventive seating area.

11.  Use as a zoning tool

If you’re looking for retaining wall ideas for a sloped backyard that will revolutionise the way you use the space, look no further. Retaining walls can make effective yet attractive zoning tools as they serve the purpose of separating different levels of your garden. From sectioning off your seating area to raising up the lawn, you can have so much fun planning your exterior around your needs.

12.  Install alongside a fence

Introducing a retaining wall doesn’t have to crush your dreams of having a picture-perfect picket fence. In fact, the pair can get along quite incredibly. Fencing can be installed along the top of it or behind the retaining wall for added privacy or simply to top off the look.

If you’re concerned about your fence not being windproof enough to withstand the elements, this little trick is a great way to further reinforce your garden boundaries. Just remember to consider which retaining wall materials will be able to support the fence. Then you can choose which installation method to use from surface mounting, face mounting, embedding or a post-in style system.

a brick retaining wall with a fence

The options are endless!

Of course, your back garden is your sanctuary and you can choose to go as far as you like with these retaining wall ideas for a sloped backyard. Head over to our range of robust landscaping materials if they’ve inspired a lightbulb moment – you want your garden to look its best, so why not explore the selection today?

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