Stuck With A Flat Yard? 4 Easy Ways To Add Height And Depth

Many homeowners know the value of a retaining wall when it comes to managing a slope or controlling erosion. But few people make full use of walls to add visual interest and height to a landscape that's simply too flat.

Are you in the position of trying to create interest when you have only a flat canvas to work on? Here are a few ways to make it more arresting.

Create Tiers. Tiered gardening used to simply be the best way to manage a yard that came with challenging slopes. But it also provides a way to add interest to a boring yard. Tiers can also help provide visual privacy by raising the starting point for plants, bushes, or trees and boosting noise reduction efforts. Use tiers compose on retaining walls of different heights and flat spaces between to take advantage of the edges of the landscape.

Raised Beds. Building raised garden beds is an easy way to give height to a yard without making large-scale changes. Raised beds can be as high or as low as you like — anywhere from high enough to tend comfortably while standing to only a few inches high for a money-saving addition. Use them define zones in the yard for things like kids' play areas, pet areas, vegetable gardens, and outdoor entertainment. 

Dig Down. Rather than adding height to your yard, why not go the other direction by digging downward? A sunken garden helps differentiate different use zones while creating a focal point in the landscaping. It's perfect for backyards with close neighbors, where you'd rather not raise the ground and look directly  into your neighbors' yards. Use retaining walls to prevent the sunken area from ending up filled with water every time it rains. 

Trick the Eye. There's nothing wrong with — or even new about — using visual and perspective tricks to add height elements. A fake stream, for instance, can be paired with tall plants on either side to make it appear lower down. Slope the edges up a little and use rocks along the edges to boost the effect. Or arrange rocks to ascend and descend in the yard, making it seem like the ground goes up and down. 

Which of these simple landscape elements can add height and depth to your own yard? It depends on your space, your budget, and your skills. For more help executing any of these ideas, work with a professional landscape contractor in your area.