Retaining Walls

Retain and Gain

Landscape Walls to Level Yards and Provide Seating

Retaining walls can be used to level a sloped yard, carve out space for a pool or elevate a patio. They also pull double-duty by serving as a seating wall for these spaces.

Hills are fun for sledding, hiking and watching waterfalls but not as enjoyable to mow, play soccer or try to entertain on but a retaining wall can alleviate these difficulties while offering some additional benefits. Walls can be used to:

  • Level out an area for use by either raising the low end of the grade or dropping the high end into the grade
  • Add depth to the landscape, elevate objects of importance, define boundaries  and create separate spaces with-in the landscape divided by walls and steps
  • Create structure in the garden through the use of hardscape materials that provide texture and winter interest, especially when lighted where they can provide a helpful glow to traffic areas
  • Provide a seating space when designed to be around 18” in height and adjacent to outdoor living areas
  • Minimize unwanted view by dropping undesirable items such as pool equipment below grade or raising a space to look out over something unwanted

Seating Walls

Of course not all walls are needed to retain, some are freestanding, purely for aesthetics or to provide seating around a patio, pool or fire pit.

Retaining walls over 3’ may require engineering and many townships restrict work taking place in the area of steep slopes but those wanting to flatten out an area of the landscape and/or add a wall have plenty of construction materials to consider.  No matter the material/method you select make sure proper installation methods are being used including the use of footers, tie-back, batter and drainage.


  • Stacked stone

Natural field stone is a beautiful material and can yield incredible results when installed by a talented craftsman. Fitted, dry-laid retaining walls can be used to retain short slopes or gardens while larger boulders can address steeper grades. Freestanding walls require mortar to provide stability. 

  • Pavers/Segmental wall

There are many manufacturers producing excellent segmental wall options. One can choose from a variety of colors and textures in retaining or freestanding walls and caps. The products are durable, stable, easy to install and offers design flexibility. Choose your material carefully though as not all are intended retaining purposes and engineering may be required for larger walls. 

  • Masonry block and veneer/stucco/brick

This method can be costly but offers both the effective durability of concrete and the variety of surface materials to choose from.  It is well-suited to locations where the wall must be provide significant retaining or stability but needs to complement existing features. 

  • Poured Concrete

This product can be rather industrial in appearance but may be well-suited to a modern contemporary design. Coloring and stamping can also improve the surface appearance. For large jobs, though, it can be both inexpensive and effective. 

  • Timber

This material has fallen largely out of favor except where temporary retaining is needed – a child’s playground or vegetable garden, for instance—where a limited lifespan is acceptable. Otherwise, repeated replacement for these walls can become costly. Wood either rots quickly or requires dangerous chemicals to prevent rot making it undesirable to many.

Stoneworx builds with many of these materials and can design and install a wall for any purpose into your backyard landscape, call today and schedule a consultation.


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