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Published: Friday, 4/22/2011

Landscaping With Retaining Walls Adds Curb Appeal, Usability To Your Home

A front-entry makeover adds classy curb appeal
to this Wisconsin home. The tan retaining walls
and columns are a perfect match for the home's
exterior stonework. A front-entry makeover adds classy curb appeal to this Wisconsin home. The tan retaining walls and columns are a perfect match for the home's exterior stonework.

(ARA) - The best investment you can make in your home -- both for your pocketbook and your personal enjoyment -- is in landscaping. Real estate experts agree that every dollar you put into your yard eventually will return one to two dollars when you sell. And at a time when home values are sagging, that's something to consider.
"With an increasing number of homeowners staying put rather than selling and moving up, we're seeing a growing trend of people adapting their homes to their lifestyle," says Dave Johnson, manager of Patio Town, a Minnesota landscape supplies retailer. "That often means investing in landscaping to make better use of what they already own."
Versatile segmental retaining wall systems enable today's homeowner to bring plenty of curb appeal to their landscape while maximizing the use of their outdoor environment. Construction of everything from raised-bed gardens and tiered walls to stairs, columns and freestanding seatwalls is possible with systems such as Versa-Lok.
"You can add some amazing features to your yard with a modest amount of skill and labor," Johnson explains. "Fire pits with paver patios, retaining walls, columns, sidewalks and driveways all are within the capabilities of most do-it-yourselfers. Or, you can bring your ideas to a professional landscaper and leave the design and installation to them, no matter how complex."
In recent years, segmental retaining walls have become one of the most important tools in the hands of landscapers.
"Your imagination is your only limitation when working with these systems," says Kelly O'Donahue, landscape designer with Villa Landscapes in Oakdale, Minn. "I've transformed virtually unusable back yards into stunning outdoor environments. Homeowners love it because it's readily available in consistent colors and styles that are easily matched with existing exteriors or other landscape elements."
Segmental retaining wall systems lend themselves to phased landscaping projects built over a period of years, says O'Donahue.   
"Some of our customers have a grand idea of what they ultimately want, but may not be able to afford all at once. So we work up a master plan for them, they start out with one phase, perhaps a circular paver patio with seatwalls and a firepit in the back yard. And that evolves over a period of years to a full-blown entertainment area, maybe an outdoor kitchen or bar, along with other features such as gardens or gazebos."
Low-rise retaining walls can be used in rain gardens to significantly reduce storm water and pollutant runoff from surface areas. Plantable retaining walls provide earth stabilization while softening the appearance with vegetation.
"Plantable wall systems essentially create a vertical garden while performing the function of a retaining wall," says O'Donahue. "You can get really creative with the color and textures of plantings you use in the wall to achieve whatever look you want." Courtesy of ARAcontent

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