Three Retaining Wall Landscaping Mistakes To Avoid

Posted on: 28 April 2017


Installing a retaining wall, whether for aesthetics or to reinforce a hill on your property, can result in some landscaping challenges. This is especially true at the base of the wall, since this is an area that may be constantly shaded or exposed to extreme heat, depending on the wall's orientation. It's important that the plants you choose to plant in this area don't pose a hazard to the wall and that they can thrive in the area. Avoid the following mistakes to ensure your landscaping thrives at the base of your retaining wall.

#1. Ignoring plant needs

Before choosing a plant for the bed at the base of the wall, make sure you are fully aware of the conditions. If sun beats down and reflects heat off the wall for most of the day, don't plant shade-loving begonias—instead consider a heat-hardy cactus or succulent plant. For areas where water drainage to the area sometimes leads to wet soil, avoid irises and other plants that are prone to root rot in wet soils. You'll only waste your money and be disappointed when the plants die. The plant choice should match the conditions, so pay special attention to the area on the plant tag that indicates sun and water requirements.

#2: Planting varieties with shallow roots

Shallow roots can work their way beneath a retaining wall, where they will then begin to lift the soil and eventually damage the wall. If you want to plant trees or shrubs, choose varieties that send down deep roots instead of shallow surface roots. Annual flowers are a good option since they do not have overly extensive or strong root systems. Smaller shrubs also work well, like lavender, sage, and rosemary. Most evergreens also have deep roots. When in doubt, choose plants with a known deep-root or non-disturbing root system.

#3: Opting for high-maintenance plantings

You don't want to damage the retaining wall when maintaining your plants. For example, growing a lawn right up to the retaining wall can lead to mechanical damage to the wall from your lawnmower or string trimmer. This is when the machinery slowly chips away at the wall material. Plants that require heavy fertilization can also damage a wall, since fertilizer salts can stain concrete and stone. Another issue are plants that spread readily by climbing roots or small seeds. These can root in a retaining wall, damaging the surface as they take hold.

For more help, contact a lawn care professional at a company like Rock Solid Services LLC in your area.