Sloped yards are difficult to deal with. The best solution is to level it out with a retaining wall. Read on to find out the best way to do it and not end up with an eyesore.
Having a sloped front yard can be a big let down for those of us who enjoy landscaping and creating a beautiful first impression for our homes. It’s a bummer when you move into a house and you think nothing can be done to look out your front window and feel that your front yard is just a big waste of space.
Well, I say no more! You can transform your front yard into a usable space, your dream space, and all you need is one thing: A retaining wall!
What Is A Retaining Wall?
Retaining walls are an easy way to fix your sloping property. They help to prevent soil erosion in your yard, which will keep the ground from sloping again over time, and they serve as a beautiful landscaping design on top of that. They aren’t an eyesore at all, but an attractive focal point of your house that will undoubtedly add curb appeal to your house.
There are many different types of retaining wall landscaping choices, such as short retaining walls, tall retaining walls, retaining wall designs, and various materials to choose from.
After installing the wall, you can then level your property by adding dirt. Unlike if you tried to level your yard without a sturdy barrier, this will hold soil in place and keep it from eroding back into a slope or hill. Once that is complete, the space is finally yours to do with what you will!
If you aren’t quite sure, you can always install retaining walls in small sections to see whether or not this design is for you. There’s nothing wrong with taking baby steps! But if you would prefer your yard be all one level, having one tall retaining wall might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Can You Do This Yourself?
There is nothing stopping you from installing a retaining wall yourself. There are many homeowners who have done this on their own and have come out satisfied with their new yard.
In most cases, if you choose the right material, options that are listed in this article, you will be surprised at how easy it is to put a retaining wall together on your own!
Who Can You Hire?
You’ll want to hire a landscaping contractor if DIY isn’t your thing. If you’re not sure which contractors to talk with, take a look at houzz.com. After filling out the filters to describe what you’re looking for in a landscaper, the top 15 results will be weeded out from the rest and you can get to work.
It’s always best to get estimates from more than one contractor to weigh your options before going in on a project with anyone you hire, not just landscapers. This way you can get the best deal for your dollar when you find the contractor that is going to meet your needs the most!
Retaining Wall Material Ideas
There are many different retaining wall materials to choose from. What you choose might depend on the prices, the size of your yard, and the style and design you’re hoping to have in your front yard.
Stones of different sizes can really turn a short retaining wall into a stunning wall design. Not only does it appear very natural, it is a beautiful way to serve as a barrier to prevent erosion in your yard like in the example above.
If you’re searching for something on the easy DIY scale, this may not be the choice for you. As you can imagine, this design can be quite difficult to conquer due to the mix and match nature of the different sized stones. It isn’t impossible, just not ideal if you’re looking for an easier option.
Stone slabs are a bit easier to handle because of the flatness on either side, so this stacked stone front yard retaining wall won’t be as much of a hassle as the previous option.
Natural stone slabs are a great choice if you’re planning on making a short wall. Tall is still an option but you might want to stay closer to the ground because the higher you go the more likely your retaining wall is to topple over when it’s made of slabs like this.
Blocks, whether they are stone or concrete, are definitely one of the easiest materials to deal with when you are building a retaining wall in your front yard. Just like when you’re a child, stacking blocks on top of another is a simple and quick task. Most homeowners will see concrete blocks and stone blocks as their ideal retaining wall thanks to the simplicity.
Bricks are also an incredibly DIY-friendly choice for your front yard retaining wall ideas for any sloped property. Bricks will always be sought after because of how timeless and classic brick has continued to be throughout the years.
They have been used for homes, patios, barriers for a fire pit, and so many more – so why not for retaining walls?
Gabions are blocks of rock encased in wire netting, and they definitely spark a visual interest. Their square nature makes them easy to construct into short retaining walls and are an effective way to bar your front yard from spilling out onto the sidewalk.
If you aren’t into the grayish tone that it gives your yard, I have a great tip for you! There is still usable space in gabions that can be filled with dirt! Packing dirt through the wire netting and planting something green or colorful such as a durable clover plant will give your front yard a breath of life!
Right now, the #1 question on your mind is probably this: Won’t the wood rot away?
If you’re using untreated wood, it will end up rotting away from moisture and other bacteria in the dirt. Treated wood, however, has been sealed with a resin to improve durability and resistance against moisture.
Once treated, wood can be a really great front yard retaining wall – especially since you don’t see many wooden retaining walls. If you choose a color that complements your house, there is no doubt that your new landscape will increase your curb appeal and create an outdoor space that can even add depth to your entire property.
7 Retaining Wall Design Ideas
Now that you know the materials you can use for retaining walls, what about a landscaping design? There are countless needs for countless types of sloped yards, and they require different design solutions just like your personal preference.
Adding a fence to your retaining wall is a convenient way to create privacy for your sloped front yard. The best building blocks to choose from are just that: blocks. This way you can create the staggered platforms shown in the photo above.
This design is a combination of blocks or bricks and wood. Even though fencing isn’t always made from wood, wooden fences like this one will always stand out as a fabulous choice! Just be sure that your wood is properly treated!
Steep yards can require a specific type of attention. Taller retaining walls and stairs are typically a necessity to make up for the steeper slopes or yards with a more dramatic hill. It might feel like more work, but taller walls make it easier to drop down to the desired level all at once, instead of having multiple platforms.
Multiple platforms, or different levels, are a more gradual way to optimize the space in your sloped front yard. Your steps will be more spread out, creating a path design if you wish, and divides your yard into separated spaces.
This design is very compatible with larger yards. Ideas to decorate these sections would be patios, plants, gardens, or even play areas for your kids!
While it is possible to plant a garden on certain sloping yards, that doesn’t make it very ideal. Level gardens are easier to maintain, therefore you should definitely look into installing a wall. A great way to fill your newly usable space from your front yard retaining wall is planting yourself a garden. Rocks, plants, or flowers, or even all three!
Separating Your Patio And Garden
Having two levels in your yard with retaining walls to keep everything in place creates two defined spaces so that you can keep your garden separated from your patio. One of the struggles for those of us who enjoy keeping gardens is that they can often start to spill out onto the rest of the yard. Keeping them separated on different levels is a sure way to keep your patio bricks clean!
Retaining walls come hand in hand with stairs. The natural staircase look is very popular, and they aren’t too hard for you DIYers out there! Choices like a brick or stone stairway are still stunning options. Whatever you choose can be made to match your front yard retaining wall so that the entire landscape design is cohesive!
This last retaining wall idea for your no longer sloping yard is one of my personal favorites. A water feature gives your property some edge and personality. Whether it be a trickling waterfall, or a small pond, this is a sure way to achieve your landscaping dreams! You can even pick both features – just take a look at the example above.