Different Ways to Spruce Up a Boring Block Retaining Wall

Aug 27, 2018

Cinder blocks are a staple of high-function, low-cost, long-lasting construction, which is why many homeowners use them for retaining walls.  Whether your property features a steep grade that you want to stop from spilling into your usable yard space or you’ve added retaining walls to create raised planting beds for convenience and visual appeal, blocks are a great way to accomplish your goals without spending an arm and a leg on stacks of natural stone, for example.

Of course, block walls aren’t the prettiest option.  They’re dull, gray, and let’s face it, boring.  The uniformity of a block retaining wall adds very little to your yard in the way of wow factor.  However, there is some good news.  It’s easy to improve the look of these walls in a variety of ways.  Here are a few tactics to consider if you want to upgrade the boring block retaining walls in your Rock Valley, Iowa backyard.

Add a Façade

One way to cover unsightly cinder block retaining walls is to add a façade, and there are a couple of ways to go about it.  You could, for example add a coat of stucco to cover the entire surface, creating a smooth and finished look.  This will require some upkeep, but it’s nicer looking than exposed blocks.

If you want to create a more eye-catching addition to your yard, however, you could go for stone overlays.  These will adhere to the front and top surfaces of your retaining wall to create the illusion that the wall is made of stacked bricks, but at a fraction of the cost of installing entire walls of natural stone.

Add a Cap

Although adding a façade of some sort to an existing cinder block retaining wall is less expensive than using natural stone blocks, it may still be a bit more than you’re willing to spend.  This doesn’t mean you have to simply live with a boring wall in your yard.

You can still enhance this structure by capping the wall, or placing another layer of more attractive material along the top surface of the wall.  Pavers are a great option.  Whether you like the shapes, sizes, and colors of concrete pavers, you lean toward the look of natural stone, or you prefer brick that matches architectural features on your home, you can find plenty of options to upgrade your boring retaining wall without breaking the bank.

Add Landscaping

Perhaps you’re not keen to cover your retaining wall with other materials, but you still want to camouflage it or at least improve its appearance.  Working with an experienced landscape design specialist could give you tons of ideas you never dreamed of.

While you’ve probably already considered planting trees, bushes, and flowering plants in the soil behind the retaining wall, you might not have thought about planting in front of it as a way to add height and depth to your landscaping even as you hide the wall.  If the top row of cinder blocks features open cavities, you could even add soil and plant flowers inside, creating a wall of flora.  With so many options to explore, you’re sure to find the solution perfect for your Sioux Center, Iowa backyard.