Damp Ground By Your Retaining Wall? 5 Plants And Trees That Love Wet Soil


Many times retaining walls are used for more than just aesthetics – imagine a sunny Italian retaining wall of stacked stone with scented Mediterranean herbs trailing delicately over the edge. Most of the time, your retaining wall is performing the thankless task of holding up the earth on a sloping yard to better control erosion. Sometimes the soil above your wall is damp or soggy, leaving your few options for growing plants and trees near it. In this case, your retaining wall does not have the luxury of reeking with old-world charm and decadence. However, you can still add a little bit of beauty and soften the wall's appearance by planting trees and other plants that love wet growing conditions. In fact, the roots of those plants help control erosion even further by keeping the soil in place.

Trees That Love Damp Conditions

While you don't want trees growing right up next to the retaining wall – the roots may eventually crack portions of the wall – you can plant them in the vicinity where the soil is perpetually damp. Here are 2 to consider:

  • Bald cypress trees normally thrive in swamps of the southeastern United States, but still tolerate sunny and warm places too. Their roots will not suffocate in your damp, wet ground. This giant takes its time growing, finally reaching heights of 150 feet after taking 200 years to get there. It has beautiful ferny foliage that turns a terra cotta in the fall. Because its wood resists rotting – hence the ability to grow in wet conditions – the heartwood is prized for making furniture.
  • The tupelo tree is loved for its neat round or pyramidal form and fiery fall colors. It has a long taproot, meaning there is little danger of roots taking over your retaining wall. The tupelo tree can grow up to 50 tall.

Ornamental Plants

Growing ornamental grasses directly behind your retaining wall helps soften its starkness. Here are some unique grasses to try:

  • Horsetail grass is a fast-growing reed with deep green jointed stems that grow up to 3 feet in height. Their unusual appearance is definitely eye-catching, seeming more at home in the jungle than your yard.
  • Not really a grass, sweet flag has several cultivars to choose from, but they all produce faintly textured foliage and form neat round mounds similar to grass. Sweet flag can be variegated, dwarf and very fragrant. Sweet flag is not picky about soil type, so plant it in those damp spots. Because they grow by tubers, you can easily divide them by digging up and separating the roots to plant elsewhere.
  • For deep, glowing blue and purple flowers, plant some clumping spiderwort plants. They love growing along walls and borders. Some varieties produce pink or white flowers. The blooms open during the day and close up again at night, and its foliage is arching grassy-like leaves.  This hardy perennial comes back every year, and in greater numbers.

By installing a few plants and trees that tolerate wet growing conditions, you can enhance the form of your retaining wall without encroaching on its function. For more information, contact companies like New Horizon Landscapes & Design.


10 May 2017

Beautiful Landscaping Can Transform the Look of Any Home

When my husband and I bought our house years ago, we thought it would be our "starter" home and we would move in a few years. We soon had two children, and we then decided against moving since we live in a great school district and we love our neighbors. However, I was growing very tired of the appearance of our home. We painted it a different color, and it still seemed like the "same old house" that we were tired of. We finally deciding that maybe good landscaping would "do the trick" and make our home more enjoyable to use again. We were right, and I now love our home! I now love spending time in our yard and just enjoying the scenery. I have such a passion for landscaping now I decided to create a blog about it. I plan to share many landscaping tips, so come back!