Serving the Naperville Community
Retaining walls provide both practical and aesthetic value to a home. If your home is on a slope, you might be interested in learning about the 5 benefits of having a retaining wall near your driveway in Naperville, IL.
Related: 7 Landscape Design Ideas That Include a Retaining Wall in the Hinsdale, IL Area
1. Drainage and Erosion Control
On any sloped property, managing the flow of water and preventing the movement of water-laden soil is a top priority.
If your driveway cuts across the slope of the property, you may notice water, mud, and/or debris flowing across your driveway after a heavy rain: not only is this unattractive, but it can cause serious damage to downslope vegetation. Sliding debris can also mar the surface of a paver driveway, as dirt and rocks act like sandpaper that will damage the pavers.
One solution is to install a retaining wall on the upslope side of the driveway. The height of the wall will depend on the steepness of the slope. On a gently sloped property, the wall could be lower than three feet. The wall will need to be engineered if it exceeds three feet in height. Taller walls could also be constructed as terraced walls, which offer an opportunity for creative landscaping.
If your driveway goes directly up the slope, then retaining walls along both sides can help prevent water and debris from flowing off the landscaping into the driveway after heavy rains.
2. A Mellower Approach To the Home
Some driveways can be very steep and scary on icy, wintery days. A retaining wall can help create a mellower, easier approach to the home, and give you more space to drive and turn around. Depending on the need, there are two types of retaining wall: cut, or fill. A cut retaining wall is literally cut into the side of a slope to give you more room to drive and turn around. A fill retaining wall builds up your driveway to compensate for a slope that’s too steep or too shallow.
3. Elegance and Landscape Protection
Whether your property is sloped or pancake-flat, you could give a long, winding driveway an estate feel by adding a low wall along one side (or both sides).
Aside from the wonderful Old World aesthetics of placing a retaining wall along a driveway, there’s a practical side to it as well. A retaining wall will help protect your landscaping from errant snowplows and from deicing salts.
4. Landscape Lighting
While this isn’t the primary function of a retaining wall, a retaining wall is an opportunity to install low voltage LED landscape lighting. This is especially welcome on a long, winding driveway, giving visitors a warm welcome from the moment they enter the driveway.
5. Beautiful Plantings
Any retaining wall has the potential to become a botanic gardens-style feature. Adding plants that drape over the top softens the look of the masonry and adds wonderful color and fragrance. Plants you can drape over the retaining wall include Creeping Phlox, Clematis, Lobelia, Creeping Thyme, Virginia Creeper, Dichondria “Silver Falls,” and Golden Creeping Jenny. Climbing plants such as roses, wisteria, or ivy do the same from the ground up.
Planting a row of cypress along the wall will give your driveway the wonderful appeal of a Tuscan villa. Or, plant flowering trees such as cherry; or maples with their spectacular fall foliage for a colorful welcome every time you come home.
On a steeper slope, terraced retaining walls are an opportunity to showcase beautiful plantings while preventing erosion. You could even place statues and other ornamental features on these terraces, for dramatic effect.
Related: 4 Landscape Design Ideas for Tranquil Landscaping in Hinsdale IL