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Garden wall ideas: inspiration to fuel your landscaping project

Garden walls are perfect for segregating areas, adding a new garden feature, or to give you more privacy. Check out these garden wall ideas for inspiration from other homeowners who take on this landscaping project.
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From the tall and towering to the small and quaint, homeowners have long had a love for structures that surround or separate their gardens. Whether you’re undertaking an ambitious garden landscaping project or are simply looking for garden wall ideas to improve an existing structure, you’ve come to the right place.

Your garden is an extension of your living space; it’s a patch of land to call your own, a space to style as you see fit. Beyond its practical purpose, a garden wall can make for a stunning landscaping feature in itself.

From retaining walls to help you reclaim land to walls that screen off your lawn or patio for privacy, there is a range of garden wall ideas just waiting to be explored. Read on to discover how you can build a wall with a beautiful structure or decorate one to complement your garden design.

How to choose the right wall design for your garden

Think carefully about wall designs when planning your project: height, colour, costs and material are all essential considerations, as is the shape of your wall in defining the look of the landscape.

For example, a curved brick wall with a raised bed bursting with greenery and foliage makes for a stylish and sophisticated outdoor space, particularly when contrasted against stone slab flooring. On the other hand, an angular garden with a modern aesthetic would benefit more from a concrete retaining wall with clean and smooth lines that lead the eye in a commanding way.

If budget allows, your garden wall design may incorporate benches, exterior lights and custom features such as an arched entryway or brickwork steps that lead up to your lawn.

Looking for a quick fix? Planters and lights can be a cheap and effective way to improve an existing but worn-out garden wall. For homeowners looking to make large landscaping changes, go big or go home – build a wall that stands out as a star feature that turns heads.

1. Privacy wall ideas

privacy wall

Gardens are meant for lounging. So, what’s the point in having outdoor space if you don’t feel comfortable taking advantage of it? No matter how well you get on with your neighbours, a low boundary wall or fence just doesn’t cut it when it comes to privacy (and relief from the small talk).

Privacy walls are the perfect solution to help you reclaim your space, and they come in many forms to suit your needs – from contemporary screens and bamboo slats to wood lattice fencing atop an existing boundary wall. The choice is yours to make.

Don’t let the Jones’ keep up with you: build a privacy wall around the perimeter of your garden and let the lounging commence. Privacy walls are also perfect for homeowners who like to entertain guests in the summer and can come in a range of materials.

2. Build a retaining wall

Stone garden retaining wall

When the soil in a sloped garden erodes over time, it can render the best part of your outdoor space unusable. Retaining walls are structures designed to support the soil laterally so that it can be retained at different levels.

Installing a retaining wall can often be the best way to tackle this issue, turning a problem area into an elegant garden design feature that allows you to reclaim your space.

Retaining walls come in different materials, the most common being concrete, masonry or stone. They can be single-layered or stacked up and staggered to add depth to your outdoor space.

Your choice will depend on the location of the wall and your own design preferences – whether it’s decorative blockwork on a multi-tiered structure or irregular flagstone to inject character into your garden design. We’ll share some striking retaining wall ideas further down.

3. Build a raised bed

garden wall raised bed

For homeowners seeking contemporary garden wall ideas that add visual appeal, a raised bed could be the perfect accompaniment to a well-kept lawn. They’re also a great way and make use of tricky design challenges in awkwardly shaped gardens.

Not only that, but plants typically thrive in raised beds compared to in-ground since they allow for more control of the quality of soil and water drainage.

For the green-fingered homeowners amongst us, a raised bed built from stone, brick or wood makes for both a practical and pretty addition to gardens of any shape or size.

4. Paint your garden wall

brick garden wall ideas

For an eye-catching wall that oozes personality, get creative with colours and start painting.

Add instant character to your outdoor space by painting a red brick wall with a colour of your choice. Whites and creams can be ideal for the front garden boundary and driveway walls, adding kerb appeal to your property by giving the entrance a finished look.

A colour palette that borrows from Mediterranean clay can make for a stunning garden wall – oranges, pinks and pastel teal all make for a stylish choice to bring your garden to life.

5. Create a green wall in your garden

garden green wall ideas

An old stone wall can start to look unsightly when wear and tear from weather exposure eventually takes its toll. If you aren’t prepared to knock it down and build from scratch, consider using vines and bright flowers to make it into a green wall – also known as a living wall.

Learn more about creating a living wall and living wall costs in our dedicated guides. Or alternatively, simply place a trellis in front of the wall and weave plant life through to create a privacy screen bursting with life.

6. Front garden wall ideas

front garden wall

Your front garden is the first thing your visitors will see on their way to your front door – but don’t spend money impressing them. Build a beautiful garden wall that will put a smile on your face each time you come home. A front garden wall can be difficult to get right, but with the right planning, you can build something that will instantly boost the kerb appeal of your property.

Always make sure to check with your local council about building regulations for garden walls. Depending on the size and location of the wall, you may need to apply for planning permission.

7. Use light colours in a small garden

garden wall ideas

If your garden is modest in size, a tall wall can make the space feel cramped and closed-in. When researching small garden wall ideas, your top priority is to find solutions that will keep the garden feeling both bright and spacious. Choosing light-coloured bricks in off-white shades or sticking to a soft, light palette when painting your brick wall will help to keep the garden feeling spacious and serene.

Aged limestone is the perfect material for a garden wall in a quaint cottage; the weathered edges and worn appearance create a charming, traditional feel that is reminiscent of times gone by.

If brick isn’t your bag, bamboo screens put the peace in ‘peace and quiet’. As well as building in privacy, they instantly add an air of zen to your outdoor space. Pair a bamboo screen with wicker garden furniture and yucca trees to achieve a fresh and contemporary garden design.

8. Build a water wall

garden wall ideas water wall

A garden wall need not be purely functional. Step out of your comfort zone and get creative with garden wall ideas, including building a water-feature wall. Water walls mimic the look of a trickling waterfall to bring peace and serenity to a back garden.

For a modern look, opt for a stainless steel structure for the water to glide off.

For a more traditional, zen garden feel, opt for a stone wall where the water runs off into a beautiful garden pond. Complete the look with plant life on either side of your wall to truly create a sense of calm.

9. Add a wooden wall to your patio

Front garden wall ideas

Decorative garden walling is a great way to create height or divide areas within your outdoor space. Transform a portion of your garden into an outdoor living room, using a dividing wall to split up the landscape and create a sense of enclosure. Screen walls are perfect for getting a little privacy on your patio while still benefiting from the wide-open space of your garden.

A wooden wall in a large garden is often the perfect landscaping feature to complement an outdoor dining area. If custom-made, use the opportunity to build boxes into the wall for plants, herbs or flowers to bloom.

If budget allows, complete the look with a stilted hedge. This technique involves lining clear-stemmed trees either in the ground next to your wall or in a raised bed built into the wall. With careful pruning, these trees will eventually grow together to create a stunning elevated screen.

Retaining wall ideas

We’ve already touched briefly on retaining walls. But as far as we’re concerned, retaining walls are some of the most breathtaking garden walls there are. Not only do they serve a practical purpose, but they’re also a striking landscaping feature.

Here are some retaining wall ideas to give you some inspiration for your own garden landscaping.

1. Low retaining wall ideas

low retaining wall ideas

Your garden wall doesn’t have to be tall to make a statement! We love this low retaining wall, which has been used to create a sweeping raised garden bed, full of eye-catching pink and white flowers. You can also use low retaining walls to create somewhere to sit – or, why not use multiple low retaining walls to create a multi-level terrace for a sloped garden?

2. Cheap retaining wall ideas

gabion retaining wall ideas

Want to reduce your retaining wall installation cost? Gabion walls, which are essentially wire cages filled with rocks, are the cheapest retaining walls around. They used to be reserved for civil engineering and military bases, but now they bring a cool industrial edge to a modern garden.

This gabion wall uses large rocks, but you can also get gabions that are more tightly woven. That way, you can even fill them with small pebbles if you choose!

3. Inexpensive retaining wall ideas

inexpensive retaining wall idea

Another relatively inexpensive retaining wall idea is to use garden sleepers. Here, the homeowner has used timber sleepers to build raised beds, with galvanised posts at the joints for longevity. By building four sleepers high for half the wall and only three sleepers high for the other half, the homeowner has created a quirky idiosyncratic look ideal for a contemporary home.

4. Concrete block garden retaining wall ideas

concrete block garden retaining wall ideas

This concrete block retaining wall shows how versatile this material can be. Here, the blocks have been laid in a uniform pattern, giving the wall an intricate, decorative effect. We also love the pop of colour added by the plants poking out over the top!

5. Modern retaining wall ideas

modern retaining wall ideas

If you have a garden on a steep slope, using multiple retaining walls can help to increase your usable space. Here, the homeowner has used concrete to create pitched steps at varying angles, in a modern twist on a traditional amphitheatre. They’ve also turfed each flat surface to give the whole garden a uniform, streamlined effect.

6. Wood retaining wall ideas

Wood retaining wall ideas

For a more rustic look, why not build your retaining wall out of wood? This homeowner has used half-round timber poles to give the wall a traditional look reminiscent of a log cabin. In this way, the retaining wall blends in seamlessly with the nature around it – in fact, it wouldn’t feel out of place in a remote forest!

7. Small retaining wall ideas

small retaining wall ideas

We love this small retaining wall, which also doubles up as a spot to sit. The homeowner has used poured concrete to give it a slick and seamless look with barely any joints. This creates a satisfying contrast next to the untamed flowers that it holds.

8. Garden retaining wall ideas with steps

garden retaining wall ideas with steps

Incorporating other features in your retaining wall can help to give it that extra bit of verve. This retaining wall contains a lively garden that can be accessed via a set of garden steps. By curving the wall inwards and building the steps from the same stone, the homeowner has succeeded in completely integrating the steps with the rest of the wall.

9. Interlocking garden retaining wall ideas

concrete retaining wall ideas

An interlocking retaining wall is a structure that’s made up of individual blocks designed to slot together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Often, these are made from stone, but we love this retaining wall idea that’s made from concrete. The result is quietly industrial, and particularly well-suited to smaller gardens, thanks to the shallow nature of the individual blocks.

10. Dry stone retaining wall ideas

dry stone retaining wall ideas

Last but not least, stone retaining walls are always an excellent choice – whether for a modern property or a period property alike. This dry stone wall relies on gravity and the weight of the stones to retain soil without any mortar. We particularly love how the homeowner has chosen to use stones of such varying sizes – ideal for making an impact!

Do I need planning permission for a garden wall?

You will need planning permission for any garden wall over 1 metre high on the edge of a public highway and for any free-standing wall over 2 metres high.

We recommend seeking out the services of a structural engineer and professional bricklayer to ensure your design is strong and stable.

Garden wall key takeaways

  • Pay attention to the height of your wall if you want to avoid having to seek planning permission.
  • Height, colour, costs and material are all important factors to consider.
  • Retaining walls can be striking and practical additions to your garden.

Ready to go ahead and make your garden wall ideas a reality? All that’s left is to find an expert to build it for you.

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