Often, by the time clients call J&S Landscaping looking for a solution to their drainage issues, they’ve tried everything else and if it worked at all, the fix didn’t last. They’re tired of watching their beautiful landscaping be washed away by snowmelt and spring rains. These homeowners want a straight-forward solution. That solution is often a retaining wall.

Of all the landscaping tools in our arsenal, retaining walls are the most versatile and attractive, both solving the homeowners’ landscaping issues and giving them a beautiful feature they can use in a variety of ways. Retaining walls address multiple issues while enhancing the natural beauty of the green spaces in the homeowner’s yard. In fact, they often tell us they feel like they have a completely new yard after we install a retaining wall.

Here are a few of the many reasons to build a retaining wall.

Retaining Walls Make the Pros Outweigh the Cons

Living in a home that sits at the top or bottom of a hill comes with several pros and cons.

 Pros —

  • When you’re at the top, you have an enviably beautiful view of sunsets and sunrises.
  • If you enjoy interesting landscaping challenges, gardening on a hill can present many.
  • When your home is at the bottom, you get the benefits of cooler temps during the heat of summer, thanks to the shade cast by the hill and any trees growing on it.
  • Anytime you want to, you can enjoy reliving your childhood by rolling down the hillside (No? Just us then?).


The biggest issue homeowners with sloping yards face is erosion. If you live with this, you are already aware of some of these problems. What you may not be aware of is what can happen if you don’t address it. For example:

  • an unattractive yard with bare spots, constant puddles that never quite dry up.
  • Difficulty maintaining your lawn—as mowing and fertilizing it can be difficult.
  • Potential for mud or rock slides—this can result in property damage to neighbors’ homes or the roadway. Studies have proven that retaining walls go a long way toward preventing this kind of disaster.
  • Weakened and diseased trees and shrubs as root systems lose the protection of topsoil and have difficulty taking up nutrients.
  • Trees toppling over onto your home, your neighbor’s home, or blocking roadways.
  • The potential for mud or rock slides.
  • Loss of curb value. If potential buyers pull up in front of your home and the first thing they see is a yard that looks unkept, with bare spots and unhealthy trees, they may not be interested in paying your asking price.

So Why Wait?

While some of the issues we just mentioned are worst-case-scenarios, why worry and wait when a well-placed retaining wall will save you from all of that? It’s a win-win, really. You get to keep your lawn, the trees, and all your soil. And you don’t have to lie awake on stormy nights worrying.

Retaining walls can also prevent soil from being washed away from the foundations of your home, avoiding the damage caused to exposed foundations and footings. Since retaining walls also include drainage systems, any moisture that’s likely to accumulate around your home—especially if you’re at the bottom of the slope — can be redirected to a place where it won’t cause any harm.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that professionally built retaining walls can increase your home’s value. Potential buyers like seeing visible attempts to protect the structure of the home they’re considering. And even better? Retaining walls are attractive and multi-purpose. The clean, well-protected landscape makes room for them to picture themselves living in that space and using it.

Reasons to Build a Retaining Wall: Increased Useablity

Do you have kids who aren’t enjoying your yard as much as you hoped they would? If you live on a hill, it’s harder for them to run and jump when they’re constantly having to guard against falling down or stumbling.

Reluctant to have outdoor parties because of safety concerns?

Or maybe you’d love to have a swimming pool, but lack a leveled area to place one in?

J&S Landscaping has taken yards that the homeowners couldn’t even put a swing set on and leveled them using retaining walls. This creates a safer place to entertain and provides children with an area where they can play safely.

Oh—and what about that pool? Not only can we help you level out your outdoor living spaces, we can build the deck and the walkways leading to your new pool when you’re ready for it.

Water Management

One of the less dramatic reasons to build a retaining wall has nothing to do with a hill, but management of frequently wet areas of the yard. This is often related to a rocky substrate and/or excessive shade. If it’s in some far corner of your yard, it might not seem as important. But if it’s near your home or your outdoor living space, it can really interfere with your enjoyment of your yard. And if it’s soupy for much of the growing season, it can really interfere.

A retaining wall may very well be the answer. This landscaping feature can help by leveling the area a little and when combined with drainage systems, directs the water to an area where it won’t cause any harm.

Visual appeal

There’s nothing quite like a yard that’s hemmed in by professionally built retaining walls. They lend a sense of restraint and dignity to the landscape as well as providing opportunities for adding flowers and shrubs you might be hesitant to plant without some barrier to protect them from foot traffic.

Retaining walls can allow homeowners to terrace steep hills so they can grow beautiful plants and trees, can provide additional seating when located near fire pits, outdoor fire places, and outdoor living spaces, and create natural barriers between different areas of the yard.

Whether they’re used to level out slopes, or stop erosion from washing away the soil from around a tree or your home, retaining walls present a clean, orderly appearance, a sense that everything is under control. When they double as raised beds for flowers and shrubs, they create even more opportunities to dress up your yard.

Need a retaining wall?

Are you ready to talk to us about your reasons to build a retaining wall? This is a great time to call!

J&S Landscaping only works with the highest quality products and we do all the work ourselves (no subcontracting, unless you want a pavilion or a fence). Our team can be counted on to give you exactly what you want—we show up on time, finish on time, and maintain a clean jobsite throughout. In addition, J&S Landscaping relies on excellent companies like Belgard,  Unilock, Romanstone, BP, and Pavestone because all their pavers are covered by guarantees.

Need more encouragement to talk to us about your need for a retaining wall? Here’s a great testimonial from one of our many happy customers!

J&S Landscaping did an excellent job replacing a failed retaining wall in my backyard. The old rail tie wall had completely failed and, due to the sand, J&S had a lot of extra work to do to replace both wood walls. Jeff and Jeff were professional in their dealings with me and did everything they could to not exceed the budget. The end result, as you can see in the pictures, was beautiful! I get constant comments from my neighbors and see people taking pictures of the wall for ideas in their own yards. They also replaced my front walk and redid my old concrete porch. The result is also fantastic! I am happy to recommend J&S for any landscaping work you might have.

Bill B.

Commerce Township, Michigan


If you’re looking for help with your yard, J&S Landscaping has you covered! We provide year-round care for lawns, plants, and trees. We worry about the health of your landscape, so you don’t have to.

Or are you interested in adding a fire pit or outdoor fireplace? We’d love to help you build one for your next gathering. Maybe it’s time to update your outdoor living space by adding a new patio or kitchen? We do those too!

J&S Landscaping is a member of the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association. We provide top-notch lawn care and support for plants, trees, and shrubs. And everything we purchase and plant for you has a one-year guarantee.

We are certified by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute to install paver patios & walkways, brick paver driveways, retaining walls, and more. We are an authorized contractor for Belgard and we’re so confident of our work that we certify our installations for two years. All of our crews are carefully trained, certified, and bonded.

Call today to learn more about what our company can do for you!