4 Best Retaining Wall Ideas For Sloped Backyard

Backyard with multiple small retaining walls and patio in a very sloped yard

This Article Was Last Updated on January 19, 2023

There is a common problem that occurs in backyards across the country. The yard is not flat and you’ve realized you need a solution. You just can’t use the yard like you want to without building a retaining wall. So what type of retaining wall is best for you? Where should you put it? Who should you have construct it? If you are looking for retaining wall ideas for sloped backyard, this is the article for you.

Consider The Slope Direction

When choosing a type of retaining wall it’s important to consider which way your yard is sloping. Does your lawn slope up and away from the back of your house? If so this means you will be looking at the retaining wall whenever you are in the backyard. You should plan to build a wall that is visually appealing and maybe has multiple tiers so you can plant between the walls instead of building one huge wall.

Sloping Toward Vs. Away Retaining Wall Ideas For Sloped Backyard

If your lawn slopes down and away from your house, then your options are more open. Since you won’t be staring at the wall itself, you can choose some less expensive options for building the wall and maybe build one big wall. However, keep in mind you’ll need to put up a railing to prevent people from falling over the wall. Alternatively, you can plant the top of the wall heavily to prevent anyone from wandering over to the top of the retaining wall.

Multiple Level Retaining Wall Ideas For Sloped Backyard

Retaining Wall Location Ideas And Questions To Ask Yourself

When choosing a location for your wall it’s important to maintain perspective on what you are trying to achieve. Do you want to extend your yard to create a play area for your children? Are you thinking of putting in a pool? What is the overall program you hope to achieve in your backyard? When you work through answering these questions, the wall location can become obvious once you lay out everything you want to include.

It’s usually easiest to build multiple smaller walls than to build one large wall. This also helps you with disguising the wall with planting. However sometimes a large wall is the only solution and if this is the case, you’ll need to bring in some professionals.

At the very least you will need a structural engineer to design the wall, and you may want to bring in a landscape designer or landscape architect. In many states the cutoff for building a wall without an engineer is 3’-4’ in height, anything over that and you’ll need it engineered. An engineer is never a bad idea for any wall, regardless of the height as it’ll only be good insurance your wall was designed to be long lasting and properly draining.

Large Retaining Wall Ideas For Sloped Backyard With A Large Drop Off

Retaining Wall Types And When To Choose Each One

Choosing the exact type of wall can be tough also. If you’re looking for low costs you usually will be choosing from between the precast block style of wall or a boulder retaining wall. Boulder walls can look a bit agricultural, but when planted well they can be beautiful. Precast concrete block walls usually want to be hidden as much as possible. They can look industrial if left exposed.

There are several higher end wall systems. These would be poured concrete, poured concrete with veneer stone, and natural stone retaining walls. These wall types are great when you have a yard sloping up and away from the house, as you’ll be looking directly at the walls.

Contractor Retaining Wall Ideas For Sloped Backyard

If you’re looking for a contractor to build the walls, the first place to start is what type of walls you are planning on building. Certain types of retaining walls are better built by specific types of contractors. If you are thinking of a boulder or precast concrete block wall, these can be built by just about any landscaper or masonry contractor out there. Excavation companies also sometimes build these types of walls, and they can be the most economical solution depending on your region and their current workload.

If you are looking to build a poured concrete wall, you will need to find a concrete contractor. These professionals can build the forms and pour the footings and walls. You’ll also need an excavator to dig the footing and prepare the hole for the concrete pour. They will also be the ones to backfill the wall after it’s completed. The boulder and precast block style of walls are backfilled as they’re built. Although, the concrete is backfilled at completion. If you are building a natural stone wall, these are often backfilled at completion also, but it depends on the mason.

Waterfall Retaining Wall Ideas For Sloped Backyard With Patio And Plantings

Retaining Wall Ideas For Sloped Backyard Summary

Choosing the wall type, the location, and the contractor can be a lot of work. However, in the end it’ll be worth it when you finally select your retaining wall ideas for sloped backyard. The property will become useful and meet your needs. That reality will last far longer than your memory of how much it costed to do the work. Retaining walls can be expensive. Always remember it’s never a bad idea to get a few proposals before selecting your contractor.