Retaining walls are a necessity in some yards, such as if you have a slope or other area requiring terracing. In others they are purely decorative, providing height and depth to a boring or level landscaping, or working to enclose raised garden beds. The following are a few design ideas that you can incorporate into your retaining walls to make them more beautiful or useful, regardless of their purpose.

Idea #1: Add a benchtop

Low retaining walls are well-suited as extra seating. This is especially true if you have them placed around a raised garden or near a patio area. Opt for capstones that are smooth and flat, while also being wide enough to act as a bench.

For taller walls, you can have a bench carved out of the design. Simply include some inward curves along the wall. Then, build up a lower stone wall inside the curve and top it with a capstone to form a bench. The curved portion of the taller retaining wall will form the back of the bench.

Idea #2: Let there be light

Installing permanent lights in the retaining wall is an attractive way to brighten up your landscape. Light bricks are available. These already have downlights installed. They are available in both solar and hard wired varieties, depending on your preferences and your needs. These bricks are installed in the face of the retaining wall so they shine down to light the sidewalk or ground beneath. You can also have them inserted the other way so they shine upward and light up the face of the wall.

Another option is capstone lighting. These lights are built into the top surface of the capstone, where they provide a gentle glow. This helps draw attention to the wall as well as gently light the plantings behind and above the wall.

Idea #3: Integrated garden beds

If you want a lush look, consider adding integrated beds to your retaining wall. One way this is done is to have the wall designed so that small basins jut out from the front. Each of these basins is filled with soil. Spilling plants, such as phlox and lantana, look especially good trailing from these basins and down the wall.

The other option is to skip the capstone and instead have an opening in the top layer of bricks, similar to what you see in cinder blocks. These openings are filled with soil and the small plants of your choice. Herbs and annual flowers work especially well, as do the spillers previously mentioned.

For more information and ideas, consider talking with landscaping companies in your area, such as Rock Solid Services LLC.