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Retaining Wall Designs by 2013 Best Design Winner. Chris Cipriano explains how retaining walls create functional space in a backyard-Bergen County, Northern NJ

Do you have a steeply sloped area on your property that has limited your outdoor living opportunities? Have you ever wondered about how you could create a landscape design with such a yard? Retaining walls, when utilized correctly, can create usable landscape spaces to meet your outdoor living or swimming pool goals.

Retaining walls do just what their name says. They retain the earth behind them allowing you to create level surfaces that are suitable for use. Creating several tiers on your yard allows you to get the most out of it. With swimming pool designs, waterfalls can act as a natural looking retaining wall that becomes the focal point of the whole yard. This is just one example of how you can use retaining walls on your sloped yard. We have a couple more tips for you about proper retaining wall use.

Retaining walls can be crafted with a number of different looks depending upon the style of the design. Big boulders can be used that look much more natural than a wall, and almost act like cliffs. We call these rockeries and plants are usually included in them to enhance the natural look. Rockeries are usually incorporated into waterfalls as the two natural features go well together. Other styles of retaining walls can look much more formal with a natural stone veneer and cap. If you have a formal or modern designed yard, these types of walls work really well. If you really want to explore the modern design you can choose materials like glass tile or raw industrial items like wood and steel. For one of our clients we used a glass tile water wall to transition between a spa and pool while holding back a couple feet of earth.

If your retaining wall is simply functional and won’t be seen from anywhere in your yard, a good way to save money is to use cheap material. One example is if you have a slope that runs downhill as it moves away from your house. With a retaining wall in this scenario using natural boulders or precast wall block instead of natural stone veneer is a good idea.

Retaining walls can come in many different styles to fit whatever your landscape or swimming pool design is. Depending on the material and size of the wall, the price may vary greatly. The one constant is that they will always create more functional backyard spaces on a sloped property.