A sloped backyard becomes a welcoming oasis with an easy-care retaining wall garden.

backyard retaining wall

After completing a DIY deck extension (see how we built it here) and walkway we planned a small garden planted with perennials and shrubs to line the new structure.

retaining wall from above

Unused for years, the ground was a bed of weeds in hard, rocky ground.

andrew digging for plants in retaining wall

To create a hospitable environment for new plants, we removed all the grass, gravel and weeds from the site.

plants awaiting planting

Because the garden is in a narrow space exposed to hot midday sun, we chose low-maintenance plants that thrive in challenging environments.

prennial plants in retaining wall

We arranged our plants around the slope until we had a design we liked with a balance of heights, shapes and textures.

planting evergreen shrub in retaining wall

Compost and a layer of landscape fabric will give new plants a healthy start and suppress new weed growth. Use a good set of gardening tools like these from Centurion Tools to make the task a little easier. Always clean your tools at the end of the day and they’ll last for years.

landscaped and mulched retaining wall and steps

A thick layer of mulch lies on top of the landscape fabric. The mulch will also help to keep weeds in check and preserve moisture in the soil—an important consideration in this sunny exposure.

landscaped perinnial retaining wall

The privacy lattice, retaining wall rocks and mulch are all in a similar hue, allowing them to create a nearly seamless visual backdrop for the new garden.

Here’s what the garden cost:

Soil amendments $30
Landscape fabric $10
Mulch $30
Shrubs $165
Perennials $228
Annuals $60

TOTAL $523

landscaped retaining wall

Planting the space between the extended deck and retaining wall helps arrest erosion and turns an unusable area into an eye-catching feature.

Flowers and plants

Although we planted flowering annuals in blank spots this year, perennials and shrubs will fill in the space as the garden matures.

Don’t miss our next post. We’ll show you how we brought an easy water feature into the backyard makeover.


© Caruth Studio

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