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Are drab concrete retaining walls letting down the look of your Lisle, IL, landscape? While highly durable, cost-effective, and practical, some concrete retaining walls tend to lack visual appeal and can look out of place in a dynamic landscape design. However, with proper styling, your concrete retaining wall can become a lively visual point in your landscape design.
Look into Decorative Concrete
Decorative forms of concrete could give your wall a new lease on life. Stamped concrete blocks are one option. Block-like patterns that give the impression of stone pavers or blocks are often the most popular, especially for more modern landscapes. For traditional landscapes, you can go the more adventurous route of larger, more intricate patterns and have designs and patterns hand-stamped into the concrete to make your design truly unique.
Add Color with Paints
Stamped concrete patterns can be further complemented by painting your wall to really make it pop. Concrete paints can be found in a wide variety of colors and finishes. For a high-quality, durable paint job, the surface has to be expertly cleaned and prepared. While it can be tempting to give your wall a flashy coat of yellow paint, keep the overall landscape design and any patterns stamped into the concrete in mind. Bright colors would look out of place with a clean, modern style of stamping. However, you can make a more subtle color stand out by applying a bright flake with the paint. Glass beads embedded into the mixture are also a subtle way of adding more color to your design.
Related: Natural Stone Vs. Concrete for Your Downers Grove, IL, Retaining Wall
Consider Lighting Options
While a patterned, painted wall can really stand out in your landscape design during the day, highlighting it at night requires a well-designed lighting plan. If your wall has coping stones, recessed lights could be the ideal way to go. For walls where you want to highlight the texture in particular, wall grazing is a great lighting technique. By placing a spotlight close to the wall (usually less than 12 inches depending on the height of the wall), the surface textures can be accentuated. Alternatively, a spotlight placed further way could give the impression of a smooth surface finish.
Choose Stone Veneer
If you want the practicality and strength of concrete with the unmatched beauty of natural stone, stone veneer is an excellent choice. Available in a wide variety of textures and finishes, faux stone veneer can be easily applied to a concrete wall to completely transform it. Stacked stone, fieldstone, bluestone, and brick veneer are just some of the choices.
Opt for Climbing Vines
The right climbing vine could effectively camouflage a concrete retaining wall in a natural landscape. It will require establishing an adequate perch to grip the wall, drilling holes, and installing anchors and guide ropes. Hardy, evergreen vines such as the English Ivy offer a full cover year-round and can help your wall meld with the softscaping. Flowering vines such as the climbing hydrangea offer a more colorful, seasonal look when they bloom.