Retaining walls are a popular landscaping feature that can add an interesting, attractive element to your yard while also serving a useful purpose. From an aesthetic point of view, retaining walls can break up a large, bland area into several smaller more interesting areas and lead the eye toward other landscaping features. They can mark boundaries where an area of lawn transitions to a garden, wooded area, or a patio or other outdoor entertainment area.
Depending on the type of material used, the retaining wall can add a rustic element or a more refined look to the yard. Retaining walls are constructed from a wide variety of materials including natural stone, timber, concrete, bricks, and manufactured stone products.
From a more practical standpoint, retaining walls are used to control erosion and create level areas in a sloping landscape. A level area may be necessary for a driveway, sidewalk or walkway or for a recreation area such as a swimming pool, outdoor entertainment area, or a playground. They are also useful for creating more level areas for gardens and decorative shrubs.
Retaining walls can also serve an important role in controlling erosion. They can hold soil in place and, in combination with drainage systems, help control the flow of water.
Retaining walls typically have to be able to hold a lot of weight and withstand hydraulic pressure from water behind the wall. A very low and simple decorative stacked stone wall could be installed by a do-it-yourselfer, but for a retaining wall of any size or one that holds back soil and water, professional installation is necessary. An improperly designed or build retaining wall is dangerous and can easily cause a serious injury or death if it collapses.