Ever looked at your sloping backyard and thought how nice it would be to have some flat, usable space? Installing a retaining wall is a great solution to gain more functional area in your garden and make the most of what you have. Not only does a retaining wall create more usable space, it also makes your yard look tidy and prevents soil erosion.

If that's not enough to convince you, here are 10 reasons why you need a retaining wall in your backyard. Read on to discover how a retaining wall can transform your outdoor space.

What Is a Retaining Wall and Why You Need One

A retaining wall is a structure used to hold back soil and prevent erosion. If you have a sloped yard, a retaining wall is a must to create usable flat space. Here are a few reasons you need one:

First, retaining walls allow you to terrace your yard and gain extra level ground. This means more space for patios, gardens, and lawns. You can turn a hilly yard into a multi-tiered space perfect for outdoor living.

Retaining walls also prevent soil erosion. They hold earth in place that would otherwise wash or slide away. This helps protect your yard and any surrounding structures. Erosion control leads to less maintenance in the long run.

They make yards more attractive and increase property value. Retaining walls create crisp lines and the appearance of a well-manicured landscape. Your yard will look tidier and more intentional. This curb appeal often translates to a higher resale value.

Retaining walls are low maintenance but long-lasting. Once installed, they require little upkeep but can last 30 years or more. Made of materials like stone, concrete, or brick, they withstand the elements well.

Lastly, retaining walls allow for drainage and moisture control. Properly installed, they have layers of rock and drainage pipes to move water away from the wall. This prevents water buildup behind the wall which could lead to structural issues.

In the end, a retaining wall offers both functional and aesthetic benefits for your yard. If you have an uneven or sloped property, a retaining wall deserves consideration. With the right design and materials, it can transform your outdoor space into a welcoming oasis.

Top 10 Reasons to Install a Retaining Wall in Your Backyard

A retaining wall is one of the most useful landscaping tools you can have. Here are 10 reasons you should install one in your backyard:

Adds Curb Appeal

A retaining wall creates a tidy, structured look that instantly improves your home's curb appeal. Whether made of stone, brick or wood, it provides an attractive border and helps define outdoor spaces.

Holds Back Soil

The main purpose of a retaining wall is to prevent soil erosion by holding back embankments. It stabilises the soil and prevents it from slipping or subsiding. This is especially useful if you have a sloped yard.

Creates Usable Space

By holding back soil, a retaining wall allows you to create usable, level spaces in sloped areas. You can have terraces, patios, walkways and garden beds.

Increases Property Value

A well-built retaining wall that enhances your outdoor space can significantly increase your home's resale value. It's a worthwhile investment for the long run.

Provides Seating

For casual seating, the top layer of a retaining wall can double as a bench. Just add some cushions for comfort.

Offers Privacy

Stacking multiple retaining walls at different heights creates secluded spaces and hides parts of your yard from view. This provides more privacy for you and your outdoor activities.

Requires Low Maintenance

Once installed, a retaining wall only needs occasional repairs and cleaning. It's a low-maintenance solution compared to alternatives like concrete walls or wooden fences that require frequent upkeep.

Resists Weather Damage

Made from durable materials like stone, brick or concrete, retaining walls can withstand exposure to weather without damage. They won't rot, warp or break down over time.

Creates Garden Focal Points

A retaining wall adds height and dimension to a yard. It makes an ideal backdrop for plants and creates focal points in the garden. You can also decorate the wall itself with climbing vines, potted plants or artwork.

Safety Barrier

Low retaining walls create a barrier that helps prevent tripping and makes areas safer for children and pets. But for walls over 1 metre high, fencing may still be needed for safety.

Retaining Wall FAQs: Your Most Common Questions Answered

A retaining wall is a useful addition for any sloped backyard. However, you probably have some questions about installing one. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about retaining walls.

How much do retaining walls cost? The cost depends on the size and materials. Small timber or concrete block walls start around $90 to $150per square metre. Large stone walls can cost $180 to $270 per square metre or more. Get multiple estimates from landscapers or hardscapers in your area.

Do I need a building permit? In most areas, you need a permit for any retaining wall over 1 metre in height. Check with your local council for requirements in your state. It's best to get the proper permits to avoid potential fines or having to tear down a non-compliant wall.

What is the maximum height? The maximum height depends on the type of material and building codes in your area. As a general rule, timber and concrete block walls should not exceed 1.8m, while stone walls can be 2.4m or higher. For taller walls, you'll need an engineered design to ensure stability.

How long do retaining walls last? Lifespan depends on the materials and quality of construction. Properly installed concrete, stone, and timber walls can last 15 to 30 years or more. Regular maintenance like clearing debris, weeds, and structural repairs will help maximise the lifespan.

How do I prevent erosion behind the wall? Use drainage solutions like perforated pipe, drainage gravel, and geotextile fabric or drainage cell behind the wall to divert water and prevent buildup of hydrostatic pressure. This helps keep soil in place and prevents erosion and wall damage. For the best results, follow the recommendations of an expert.

Installing a retaining wall requires careful planning and preparation. But with the right knowledge and professional design and engineering, you can create an attractive, long-lasting retaining wall in your backyard.


Retaining walls can add value to your property, create extra living space, help with erosion control and drainage issues, and make your outdoor area safer and more functional. A well-built retaining wall is a long-term investment that provides both practical and aesthetic benefits for years to come. What are you waiting for?

Talk to a professional landscaper or a structural engineer (if your wall is over 1m high) and get the ball rolling on a custom retaining wall solution for your garden. You'll be enjoying the rewards of this smart decision for many summers to come.