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A retaining wall can be so much more than a utilitarian feature that holds back the earth. It can, even on a flat property, become a focal point and also enable the creation of gorgeous and usable spaces. Here are seven landscape design ideas that include a retaining wall in the Hinsdale, IL area.
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A Welcoming Entryway
Your home can start the welcoming process with a retaining wall. Placing a chair-height wall between the walkway and the landscaping will immediately create a sense of belonging to the space - within the “inner walls” so to speak. This design works on both sloped and flat properties.
Placing a retaining wall on the outside of the walkway also helps create a wonderful transitional zone between the home and the landscape. Rather than having a retaining wall between the foundation landscaping and the walkway - which makes the walkway feel more part of the landscape than the home - you create a larger and more welcoming space by moving the wall outward away from the home and enclosing the walkway within it.
Seating is often at a premium on many patios. Instead of cluttering the space with patio furniture when you are hosting a larger group of guests, why not use a chair height seat wall to take up the slack and give everyone a place to sit? A seat wall that surrounds the patio (fully or partially) will help define the space and provide a cozier atmosphere that is somewhat enclosed, but with an unobstructed view.
Fire Pit Seating
Nothing draws people together like fire. A fire pit is one of the most coveted features on any patio, because it gives you a reason to use the space even on cold days when you would otherwise not be interested in hanging out on the patio.
There are two options for using a retaining wall around a fire pit. The first is a seat wall that encircles the fire pit about halfway around, giving a sense of enclosure, and providing plenty of seating for a larger group and allows for placement of several chairs.
The second option is a high-backed seat wall (also encircling the fire pit about halfway around). This is a more comfort-oriented permanent seating feature that blocks the wind and provides a back rest.
Adding a seat wall around a fire pit is a great option both on flat or sloped properties. When you create a fire pit area on a sloped hillside, seating could be built right into the retaining wall to create a cozy fire area that takes full advantage of views.
A pool area should feel like a retreat. Create a cozy space by positioning a retaining wall along one side of the pool, which houses several Roman faucets that jet water into the pool for dramatic effect.
Any retaining wall can become a stunning focal point. You could transform the entire wall into a water feature. Or, just one section of the wall could be dedicated to the soothing sounds of water.
Incorporating a full outdoor fireplace (and even a wood-fired pizza oven) into a retaining wall maximizes space and creates a cozy living room feel.
On a sloped property, a retaining wall offers many opportunities to carve out intimate retreats from the hillside. Add a fountain, comfortable seating or a lounge chair, a small fire feature: the perfect getaway right in your own backyard!
Related: 4 Landscape Design Ideas for Tranquil Landscaping in Hinsdale IL
Millions of people spent a lot more time in their outdoor living spaces than ever before during last year’s shelter-in-place orders. And many found that their patios didn’t quite live up to their potential. If you would like some inspiration, take a fresh look at your patio options with these 4 landscaping ideas in Wheaton, IL.
Related: The Benefits of Making Sure Your Landscape Design Includes Both a Patio and Fire Pit in Naperville, IL
Have you ever tried enjoying a quiet afternoon reading a book outdoors yet felt that you were in the center of all the action? Creating separate zones will allow everyone to enjoy the space the way they want. In many cases this could simply mean expanding the patio to make one larger space; but you can also create a series of smaller interconnected patios that create a sense of intimacy in each one (while still being part of a whole), and allow for creative use of various materials. If your backyard is sloped, take advantage of the topography to create elevation changes based on activity: for example, a main patio next to the house, where the outdoor kitchen and dining area are located. Outward from this high-activity zone, there could be a step (or several) up or down to more private, quieter areas such as a lounge area or a fire pit space.
Add a Fire Feature
Nothing brings people together like a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, and it could well be the best investment in a landscaping element because it will make your patio cozy and comfortable virtually any time of the year. Without fire, your outdoor space will go unused for far too many months, so we recommend making space for wood-fired or a natural gas/propane fire feature: it will be a huge draw for family and friends, and a great reason to go outside and relax or entertain.
Fire provides a timeless and primal experience that has remained relatively unchanged by technology. Gorgeous stone masonry fire features can adorn your landscape in the form of a fire pit, fire table, or outdoor fireplace. A fire feature is an opportunity for creative expression, too: a focal point that can become a centerpiece of your backyard.
Add Soothing Water Features
Installing a fountain or a waterfall in your outdoor living space can create a variety of moods, from energized to tranquil. A traditional Roman fountain or a rugged waterfall will have dramatic effects on the landscape, dazzling your friends and family with the sight of rushing and splashing water. A sleek modern water wall can add a soothing experience with water trickling down clear glass or metal down to a catch basin of polished stone that can be arranged as you like to vary the soundscape.
Add Permeable Pavers
Replacing your patio surface with beautiful pavers will bring your landscape a fresh new look that is far superior in looks, upkeep, and durability to poured concrete patios or wood decks; and they offer a huge variety of color, texture, shape, and laying pattern options that let you express your creative side.
Consider switching to permeable pavers that allow water to seep into the ground, not only reducing slipping hazards but also creating a more attractive and functional driveway (especially if paired with a driveway heating system) and achieving a more harmonious balance with nature by helping return rainwater and snowmelt to the aquifer.
Related: 6 Inspirational Landscape Design Ideas to Elevate Your Landscaping in Wheaton, IL
How a New Landscape Design Can Better Incorporate Your Naperville, IL, Driveway with the Rest of Your Front Yard
Your driveway is one of the first things people notice about your front yard so if you want to add more curb appeal, it makes sense to think beyond boring asphalt. Making your driveway an attractive part of your landscape can be achieved with our tips on how a new landscape design can better incorporate your Naperville, IL, driveway with the rest of your front yard.
Related: 6 Inspirational Landscape Design Ideas to Elevate Your Landscaping in Wheaton, IL
Upgrade to Pavers
At first glance - and beyond - upgrading to a paver driveway could be one of the best ways to make your driveway feel like a deliberate part of the design and not just a purely utilitarian space to park the car. The driveway will look less like a means of getting from here to there, and more aligned with its surroundings and the home.
While the upfront cost can be higher, look long-term. Asphalt and poured concrete are a solid surface that will crack and heave over time. Patches look terrible, and the lifespan of these driveways isn’t very long. By contrast, a paver surface can last many decades with little or no repairs (should a paver get damaged, the individual paver can be replaced).
You can extend the life of your paver driveway even more by installing a driveway heating system, which virtually eliminates shoveling or plowing (and creates a drier, safer surface that won’t ice up).
Pavers can be made to resemble natural stone or clay brick so if these are part of your home’s façade, it’s a way to integrate the driveway with the home; or, if your landscape features prominent rock outcrops, your driveway can be made to match the colors and even the textures. The colors are natural, too, unlike black asphalt (and because they’re lighter in color and not a solid surface, they stay cooler on bare feet if your kids like to play in the driveway).
Finally, pavers are an opportunity to reduce runoff - which can be significant from any solid surface! The larger joints let water seep naturally into a special substrate, keeping your driveway drier and easing the load on the municipal storm drain system.
Many driveways are bordered by grass. This creates a distinct line that makes the driveway stand out. But you can take this approach to the next level by creating a strip of lawn or low groundcovers between “tire tracks” made using pavers and bordering the driveway with tall ornamental grasses. This is an incredibly elegant and formal like that will add an estate-like flair, especially to a longer driveway that is lined with trees or a low wall; and again, if you install a driveway heating system you won’t need to worry about landscape damage from snow plows.
Bordering a driveway with a living wall such as cypress also gives your front yard an exclusive feel reminiscent of luxury estates. Layering monochromatic evergreen trees and shrubs with deciduous shrubs, leafy plants and groundcovers results in a lush and inviting look that adds a touch of serenity to the landscape in summer… and glorious pops of fall color.
Vary the height of plantings along the driveway in a repeating pattern (tall deciduous tree, shrub, tall tree, shrub, and so on). It’s a formal look that can be softened by the shrubs’ natural shapes if left unpruned.
Blur the line with ground covers that spill over slightly onto the driveway, making way for a more layered landscape border before transitioning to a lawn.
Related: 5 Spring Landscaping Tips for Your Naperville IL Front Yard