Retaining wall ideas are based on many landscaping principles.
Some of these principles focus exclusively on creating a structure that serves a practical purpose on the landscape. Others focus on the creation of a better aesthetic, with the goal being either a more enjoyable outdoor environment, or the increased resale value of the home resultant from better curb appeal.
Retaining wall ideas are frequently integrated into garden design.
Stone walls are popular additions to gardens. They add vertical impact to the vegetation without diminishing the organic look of the scene (Stone, though inorganic, compliments vegetation superbly).
More importantly, the earth contained at the top of the structure creates a secondary planting area. Shrubs, small trees, or flower beds can be planted here. This adds a sense of elevated vitality to the scene as plant life is raised to a higher station than it normally occupies on the ground.
A similar retaining wall idea is to build a series of walls to create ascending, stepped terraces.
This has been done since ancient times on hills around cities that lacked sufficient farmland to feed their populations. This same principle can be applied in today’s Houston landscape in one of two ways.
For those interested in planting a vegetable garden, this is a great way to grow a variety of plants without compromising the aesthetic of the landscape master plan as a whole.
The terraced areas can support a variety of food-producing plants just like many other garden types. The aesthetic of this type of vegetable garden, however, is far more attractive than that of the traditional plowed rows garden.
Of course, terraces can support other types of plants as well.
When people think of retaining walls, ideas of very large structures immediately come to mind. This does not have to be the case. In reality, a terraced wall can be small enough to fit into the center of a larger garden. The steps rising up in the center become a focal point of ascending rows of herbs and flowering plants.
In a modern garden, where vegetation is minimal, a small wall like this can be planted with low-growth plants and decorated with modern art, gravel, and stones.
Along the many bayous that flow through the Houston landscape, hills and depressions are quite common in people’s yards.
These irregularities in the landscape can be shaped into beautiful points of interest. Retaining wall ideas here are based on working with forms that are already present in the landscape. The essential geometry of the landform is isolated and sculpted into a more recognizable land feature.
The addition of the wall helps integrate the redeveloped feature back toward home architecture. On a functional level, it also creates an environment that is controllable from an erosion prevention standpoint. Earthworks retained behind a wall are resistant to being washed away by rain. Concealed drainage systems can also be built into the hill to move the water out of the area as quickly as possible.
Enhancing the curb appeal of a home by developing multiple zones of interest often depends on creative retaining wall ideas that help divide up the landscape.
In a very large yard, too much empty space creates a sad and overwhelming feeling. This can work against you if you are listing your home for resale. You can turn this around immediately by adding new features like stepped terraces, waterfalls, curved seat walls, and steps leading down into special courtyard areas.
Prospective home buyers will now see the backyard as a place that easily keep them and their loved ones entertained throughout the afternoon and evening of any planned event.