10 Retaining Wall Ideas for Your Home

Retaining walls prevent soil erosion and provide flood control. But the functional aspects aren’t the only benefits. There are tons of retaining wall ideas that allow homeowners to bring more balance to their yards. Check out some of our favorite ways to use these walls in exterior design below.

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long brick retaining wall in front of a ranch home

#1 // Surround the retaining wall with other natural elements

Retaining wall ideas shouldn’t be forced. Our designers included plenty of natural elements in this design, complementing the environment surrounding the home. The brick retaining wall is enhanced by the stones used in the landscaping, wood accents on the home, and plants, giving the entire layout a seamless feel.


cultured stone retaining wall in front of a ranch home

#2 // Include the retaining wall in the exterior color palette

One of our favorite retaining wall ideas is to play up the colors of the exterior with the materials used for the wall. In this rendering, our designers used cultured stone to revamp the existing retaining wall. The shades of gray in the stone bring out the other gray tones on the home’s exterior, making the design look more intentional. 


dark home with a wood retaining wall and landscaping

#3 // Wood panel retaining wall

Our retaining wall ideas cover a variety of building materials. One of the most popular is wood paneling. In this design, the wood retaining wall provides a warm contrast against the dark exterior. Plus, it brings out the other wood accents on the home. Finally, the staggered layout adds dimension to the design.


dark gray traditional home with cultured stone retaining wall

#4 // Plants on a multi-level retaining wall

Retaining wall ideas often include layering to create some contrast, especially if the home has a multi-level wall, like the one above. To bring in visual interest and some natural elements amongst all of the hard features, our designers added shrubs in between the two levels of the wall. This combination makes the backyard hardscape that much more inviting. 


before and after of a rustic home with a natural stone retaining wall

#5 // Mold your exterior around the retaining wall

Some homeowners look for retaining wall ideas that requiring redoing the wall in order to coordinate with the home exterior. But for this rendering, our designers left the existing retaining wall as a fixed element. This means that we designed the exterior facelift knowing that the retaining wall would stay. In the before photo, there were a lot of brown tones, resulting in a lack of contrast. Our designers suggested Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal on the siding, which pulls out some of the blue-grays in the stone retaining wall while also helping the home’s exterior pop.


backyard hardscape of a large brick home with a stone retaining wall near the fire pit

#6 // Stone retaining wall to accentuate the backyard hardscape

This home features a gorgeous backyard hardscape complete with outdoor seating and a firepit. The stone retaining wall just behind this space encloses the area to create some privacy. Plus, our designers suggested some ‘spiller’ style plantings that hang over the stone, elevating the aesthetic.


back of a large lake house with a stone retaining wall near the dock

#7 // Stone retaining wall surrounding lake house dock

This modern lake house is all things grand and luxurious. With multiple levels and balconies, columns, and a large outdoor staircase, the design is extremely appealing. As such, the dock area couldn’t be just any ordinary space. Our designers included a stone retaining wall to spruce the spot up — we especially love how the same stone is used on the home’s exterior, so the design looks cohesive.


large home with a pool, fire pit, and retaining wall in backyard

#8 // Use a retaining wall to separate areas

This home’s backyard hardscape is both impressive and expansive. There are multiple outdoor seating areas, a pool, a balcony, and a firepit. With so many features involved, the design could read as busy, but the retaining wall breaks up the design. The placement of this wall is not only functional for preventing water run-off and erosion of the landscaping, but it creates a visual divide between the outdoor spaces.


charming small home with stairs embedded in a wood retaining wall

#9 // Retaining wall with built-in stairs

Next, we have one of our favorite retaining wall ideas that is rooted in functionality but is also aesthetically pleasing. Embedding the stairs in this retaining wall creates a unique, seamless layout that serves as an ideal lead-in to the home’s walkway.


before and after of a large brick home with a sprawling retaining wall

#10 // Sprawling retaining wall

We often see retaining wall ideas that feature short sections of concrete, stone, or wood. Not here. For this home, our designers transformed the once-tree-filled front yard with a sprawling stone retaining wall. Along the wall, the shrubs, fountain, and other landscaping elements take the curb appeal to new heights.


home with retaining wall above driveway

Making a plan for YOUR retaining wall

Have an existing retaining wall that’s in need of a makeover? Or have some empty space in your sloped yard that needs filling in? Our designers can help you explore the best retaining wall ideas specifically for your home.

What are you waiting for? Our designers are here for you, ready to help you achieve your exterior design dreams. Get started today!