5 retaining wall planting ideas

Seat retaining wall next to a garden bed

Whether you've just built a brand new home, have existing retaining walls you want to freshen up, or your business is getting a facelift, finding the perfect retaining wall design is essential. Building a retaining wall is one thing, and there are plenty of creative designs, but if you're wanting to take it to the next level, looking for iconic and seamless planting ideas will take your space to the next level. Retaining walls serve practical purposes to prevent soil erosion, levelling a block, or adding structural integrity to sloping blocks, but can be designed in a way that adds to the existing landscape.

What is retaining wall planting?

Retaining wall planting can mean a number of things. It can mean garden beds within the retaining wall for a vegetable garden or other crop like plants, it can also be a retaining wall that has decorative plants used to elevate its design in a business or public space. Out of visual interest for a house or business, retaining walls can be useful in creating low maintenance garden designs that are designed to last and include plants that can flourish each season.

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Benefits of plant retaining walls

When looking for plant retaining wall ideas, there are a number of benefits individual designs can provide. Whether it be environmental or aesthetically, having a plant retaining wall somewhere in your house or business can be extremely beneficial.

Retaining walls are a practical necessity

First and foremost, retaining walls serve their own purpose as a stand alone structure. They prevent erosion, help level areas like a yard or other outdoor area, and serve as a potential garden wall for the boundary of your property. When building a new home or completing a home renovation, a retaining wall of some sort will need to be constructed to help reinforce the structural integrity of parts of the property.

Large boulder retaining wall with plants on top

Retaining walls can be a raised garden bed

If you're living with limited garden space, constructing a garden bed from a retaining wall can help you have enough space for your garden and room to move around the garden. Raised garden beds can be constructed from a number of materials, but a wooden retaining wall garden bed would be your best bet for a seamless natural look and strong structure.

Improve the look of an existing retaining wall

If you're just wanting to improve the look of existing retaining walls in your garden and create a new retaining wall design, a plant retaining wall can be great. With minimal manual labour involved, you can add plants that elevate outdoor space without sticking out like a sore thumb. By creating a living wall within your yard you can choose to have plants that are aesthetically pleasing, or have a more practical purpose.

Hire professional landscape designers

Hiring a landscaper or horticulturalist can help you to seamlessly blend your new retaining wall into the existing garden and select plants that best compliment the type of retaining wall you choose. They have expert knowledge on types of plants, the floe of a garden space, and structurally what may work best for you in regards to retaining wall design.

Man picking up plants in a plant store

5 retaining wall planting ideas

Stone retaining wall ideas

Whether you choose natural stone retaining walls or a more robust rock retaining wall design, you can find plants that compliment the material. Three great plants you can add to your stone retaining wall are dichondra silver falls, golden creeping jenny, and cousin it plant. All of these plants can create a cascading effect if you have a tall retaining wall, or if you have a low retaining wall you want to cover, they can be great for this too.

Creeping penny plant hanging over a ledge

Edible garden retaining wall designs

If you're wanting to create a retaining wall that serves both as an aesthetically pleasing design and has a practical purpose for the kitchen, there are a few plants that can make your retaining wall look great and be used in the kitchen. The three best climbing plants for retaining walls include a climbing strawberry plant, prostrate rosemary, and tumbling Losetto tomatoes. All three of these plants are extremely hardy and can help in creating a beautiful garden aesthetic and can be added to tasty meals or snacks.

Strawberry plant hanging from a ledge

Industrial style retaining wall ideas

If you're opting for an industrial style retaining wall design, your best bet will be concrete retaining walls or block retaining walls. Both of these types of retaining wall offer a robust and clean look that lean into the industrial style. The types of plants you can add that will contribute to this look are succulent plants or cacti. These plants are extremely hardy and often have quite distinct structures that would suit both these styles of retaining walls.

Tiered retaining walls

A tiered retaining wall offers a number of benefits, firstly they offer a solution for sloping blocks of land and help to create stairways and reinforce the slope of the land. They also create a visual effect that gives some depth to a sloping piece of land. By staggering tiered retaining walls up the side of a slope you create an effect that helps level the view without making the slope seem too steep. They can also help provide privacy in the front yard of some properties developing a stacked perspective from the street.

Tiered retaining wall in the front of a house

Water feature retaining walls

Adding a water feature to a retaining wall can elevate a space even more in your garden or outdoor entertainment area. You can create a full fledged pond and water feature, or a cascading design down a stone retaining wall or concrete retaining walls.

Pond water feature below retaining walls

How much does it cost to hire a retaining wall contractor for plants?

When you're looking to build your new retaining wall you want to make sure you're hiring the right person, firstly, and that you're not paying too much. To hire a landscaper you're looking at spending $150 to $250 per square metre for retaining walls, soft scaping will be $50 to $75 per hour, and water feature construction can cost as much as $9,000 to $25,000 per project depending on the size. To find out more about landscaping costs, see our landscaping cost guide.

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Additional tips for building a retaining wall with plants

  • Do your research: look at a few different landscapers or retaining wall builders to make sure you're selecting the right contractor for your needs. Compare quotes and look at reviews and previous work to see what they are capable of and other customers' experiences with their services.
  • Have a clear plan: Either discuss a course of action with your landscaper, or have some clear ideas to bring to them. Coming into a landscaping project with some clear goals and retaining wall ideas can help you better communicate with the contractor you choose.
  • Choose plants that suit your climate and existing garden: When you're researching plants, don't just choose the pretty flowering plants or the most colourful. You need to consider the climate you live in, how the weather changes each season, and how plants may need to adapt. Some plants you like may not do well in the position in your garden or survive winter. Choose hardy plants that can survive almost all seasons and speak to a soft scaping expert at how to arrange them.

Find landscapers and retaining wall contractors with iseekplant

As Australia's largest online construction marketplace, iseekplant have thousands of contractors across the country who can help with your project no matter where you're located. Whether you're in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, or other areas of Australia, our suppliers can help.

Search the marketplace and find landscapers in your area, compare quotes with our Get a Quote Tool, and find the perfect supplier for your project. Or if you need more information, email our projects team today and they can help you with hiring from the marketplace and answer any other questions you may have about retaining wall contractors.

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