Stone Retaining Walls Add Value & Beauty to Homes

24 Jun

Let’s take a look at Denise’s stone retaining wall in Fredonia, New York. Her home is grey colored, so they opted to purchase grey stone for their front retaining wall adding gorgeous curb appeal.

The stone selected for the wall is a nice chunky 4 inch wide cut and the grey color compliments the grey brick on the house very well, creating harmony.

So where does the contrast come in? Look to the left at the beautiful burgundy leafed tree. It may be a Japanese Maple or Purple leaf plum. This is the color we will add as the contrast in the front foundation landscape.

Retaining walls are only beautiful if installed correctly and softened by plants. Look at the harshness of the wall below without the use of plant material. It does not blend in with the home or surrounding landscape and is overpowering.

Denise and her husband are installing the retaining wall with a level, or just a really great eye.

To make mowing easier I suggest killing the grass within 1 foot of the stone retaining wall.

On ground level low growing plants will soften the wall from the bottom and create a lower maintenance wall. No weed eater will be needed. Try plants like creeping sedum, creeping phlox, creeping thyme or ajuga.

Below is a picture of Blue Sedum and Ajuga.

I love to see plants cascading over stone to soften the look. The homeowners can even remove a few middle stones in a random order and create plant pockets. Small plants can be inserted into these crevices to really look natural. Some plant suggestions are plumbago, candytuft and creeping jenny. This is candytuft in full bloom on a slope.

Voodoo Sedum has the burgundy foliage great for crevices too, pictured below in the strawberry jar.

To add more color try Thyme. This variety is striking.

Thyme can also cascade.

Creeping Jenny will do the same for retaining walls in part shade. Heuchera is directly behind angel statue.

Behind the wall in the planting bed try purple flowers of Iris, Salvia or Veronica.

Plumbago is another low plant will fall color of burgundy/red.

Some other plants with burgundy foliage to add into the plant bed are

  • Heuchera
  • Barberry
  • Burgundy Potato Vine
  •  Weigela
  • Fothergilla
  • Andorra Compacta Juniper
  • Little Henry Itea

I would use minimal amounts of yellow blooms if you have a grey colored home. Yellow is not the best color to showcase your home.

Good luck with your stone retaining wall and plantings in New York!!

Happy Planting!!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation



Posted by on June 24, 2008 in Landscape Design Ideas


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3 responses to “Stone Retaining Walls Add Value & Beauty to Homes

  1. Denise Szalkowski

    June 25, 2008 at 12:01 am

    Thank you so much for all your advice. I only have one question. Do you think the limestone is OK with the house? I’m so worried that it’s the wrong color and type of stone.

    If you’d like to stop by on your way to Buffalo, please email me. We’d love to have you stop after we’ve incorporated your ideas.

    Would you be interested in “after” pictures?

  2. diana gardner-williams

    June 25, 2008 at 12:31 am


    I love the limestone because of the thickness. The color also compliments the house.

    I will be traveling with a 4 year old, so stopping by isn’t in his plans, but thank you anyway.

    I would love to see the after shots as well.

    Take care and Happy Planting!


  3. Larissa Hess

    July 18, 2008 at 11:09 am


    I love your site! It’s so informative and, obviously, you know your stuff!

    Also, thank you for listing me as your preferred real estate resource. I really appreciate your kind words, and the attention you give to my background and experience, on the page you’ve dedicated to me. You provide lots of wonderful information for the visitors to your site, and I’m glad to be included. You’re awesome!

    Best regards,


    Larissa Hess, Broker
    Allen Tate REALTORS


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