The Basics Of Dressing Up A Retaining Wall

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Retaining walls create an aesthetic conundrum for many homeowners. When positioned in a yard or in a place easily seen from the road, retaining walls can easily suck up all the attention without adding visual interest. Proper landscaping around a retaining wall can help dress up the space and make your yard more attractive. These landscaping tips will help you make your retaining wall more attractive while also integrating your retaining wall into the rest of your landscaping.

Trailing Plants Break Up Solid Expanses of Wall

Trailing plants placed at the top of the retaining wall will naturally come to drape over the side of the wall and grow downward. This breaks up the flat, solid expanse of the wall's surface. The type of trailing plants you choose for your wall will depend on the amount of time you expect to spend maintaining the trailing plants. For those who wish to spend little time maintaining the landscaping above their retaining wall, perennial plants are best because they'll grow back on their own at the end of each growing season.

For example, the perennial sweat pea 'White Pearl,' requires little maintenance, grows vigorously, and produces trailing flowers nearly all summer long. In warm weather climates, consider planting bougainvillea, which produces huge clusters of colorful bracts and requires very little watering once established.

Lights Add Visual Interest at Night

Retaining walls appear big and black at night, creating a visual hole in your yard. Add landscaping lights around the base of your retaining wall to give it shape and definition in the darkness. Position the landscaping lights to point upward, so that the light can capture the texture of the wall and the plants surrounding it. This will also help create interesting shadows as the light bounces off of the objects that stick out prominently from the wall's surface.

Shrubs and Small Trees Create Patterns At the Base

Plant shrubs and trees at the base of the retaining wall. Consider installing a rhythmic tree-shrub-tree-shrub pattern, or flank the sides of the wall with trees and plant shrubs in the middle. Just be sure that if the shrubs are going to fall in the shade of the trees that they're shade tolerant. For example, hydrangeas are shade tolerant and produce beautiful clusters of flowers during the summer. Keep the trees small so that retaining wall won't impact their ability to grow. Cypress trees are perfect for planting at the base of a retaining wall because they grow upward in a contained spike.

Following these tips, you should be able to make your retaining wall an attractive and visually rich part of your yard. For help upgrading your retaining wall, work with a landscaping expert like those at Quality Lawn & Landscape.