How to Integrate a Retaining Wall Into the Surrounding Softscape in Smithtown, NY
The title image features a retaining wall built from Rivercrest Wall with Ledgestone coping.
Retaining walls are both functional and beautiful. They can help manage soil, create more usable space, and add visual interest. But making the wall feel as though it belongs requires an artistic touch. Here’s how to integrate a retaining wall into the surrounding softscape in Smithtown, NY.
Related Read: Essential Hardscaping Elements for a Complete Landscape
Begin by choosing where you need soil management or added outdoor living space. This is dependent on the slope, intended uses for your property, existing structures or plantings you want to keep, and soil conditions. These factors will influence the materials and construction of your retaining wall. On a very steeply sloped lot, for example, you may need a very tall retaining wall; this can be made more attractive and integrated as a series of stacked retaining walls that create plant-filled terraces that soften the look of the wall.
The Unilock U-Cara Multi-Face Wall System is a patented system comprised of Sure Track backer blocks for strength and dimensional accuracy, and U-Cara fascia panels for unlimited design options ranging from rustic to ultramodern. This is a great choice for high-visibility applications such as adjacent to outdoor living spaces, or near your home’s front entry.
The next step is to determine the shape and surface appearance of your retaining wall. Begin with shape—whether you want the wall to be curved or straight—because this will influence the materials you end up using.
Straight retaining walls present a striking departure from the softscape (there are virtually no straight lines in nature). If you want your retaining wall to feel as though it’s a part of its surroundings, you have two choices.
One is to opt for a more relaxed, curved, non-linear wall. This works with the natural contours of the landscape. It also helps you curve a wall around large trees, natural water features, or to create “nooks” where you can place a few lounge chairs or a bistro table. RomanWall gives you a relaxed, rugged look that blends beautifully with your softscape. Its distressed face gives the impression that the wall has “always” been there. RomanWall is perfectly suited for tightly curved spaces where small-sized wall units make installation easier.
The second option is to use wall units that mimic the look of natural stone—especially materials found locally. Rivercrest Wall features the look of stacked flagstone with two color choices, Buff and Coastal Slate, that help you match the color to your softscape. Buff would be a great choice for a retaining wall set in an expanse of lush lawn; and Coastal Slate looks stunning in a wooded, natural setting.
Estate Wall features the look of natural ledge rock. This wall system also features a weathered finish similar to RomanWall, but with additional shapes and sizes for greater design flexibility. Estate Wall units can also be used to create steps, pillars, planters, or seat walls that blend beautifully into the softscape.
The final choice is color. To blend your retaining wall into the surrounding softscape, use colors that are complementary, not contrasting. While you can brighten up a wooded space by using light-colored retaining wall, consider how this may “jump out” at you when you look in that direction. If you desire a more blended look, choose mid-tone or darker wall units.
For more design inspiration, explore the many retaining wall options from Unilock here: Unilock Project Ideas.