Things to Know When Waterproofing a Retaining Wall

How to Make a Concrete Retaining Wall Look Better?

Retaining walls made of concrete, or indeed, many structures that are made from concrete, provide impressive durability, stability, and a range of other benefits… But is aesthetics one of them? Some people prefer the simplicity in style that concrete offers, whilst others prefer a bit of character.

That’s why, in this blog, we will provide some top tips to answer the question ‘How to make a concrete retaining wall look better?’

At PPC Concrete Products, we are here to provide solutions for your construction needs, from the person working their own part-time project, to commercial clients, and everyone in-between.

Monthly construction output had risen an estimated by an 1.6% value in June 2023, and we would like to think our accessible concrete products had a small part to play by giving our clients easy access to reliable and easy-to-use construction solutions.

What is a retaining wall?

How Do I Build a Retaining Wall on a Slope

A retaining wall is a structure that is designed to essentially create space within natural environments. It is specifically effective on hilled or sloped areas, though the applications have a wider reach.

The space created by a retaining wall is due in part to the fact it holds earth and soil to a slope it wouldn’t naturally hold to. Think of a large hill, but instead of it sloping off naturally at the bottom, a wall meets it.

Additional retaining wall benefits

Aside from optimising space, retaining walls can be used to…

  • Prevent soil from collapsing or eroding.
  • Hold back earth for a long time, without much maintenance needed.
  • Provide protection for a building (e.g. if a house is located on a higher platform and it is in danger of collapsing after a flood or earthquake.
  • Offer protection for your natural vegetation.
  • Improve the appearance of your garden landscape, which therefore boosts the value of your property.
  • Help create a seating area in your garden, which will be comfortable and relaxing.
  • Allows you to put raised planters on top of the retaining wall, which adds beauty and colour to your garden.
  • Help reduce run-off of water after storms.
  • Eliminate piles of dirt, debris, or sand, which look unsightly.
  • Help divert rainwater, which can be utilised in your home or garden.
  • Prevent sinkholes, which will damage your landscape structure.
  • Be used for flood control- as you can incorporate drainage pipes into the wall, for drainage and water control.

Simple signs you need a retaining wall

There are a few signs that can present themselves to you that can indicate you should enquire about a retaining wall, or at the most, schedule the installation of one immediately.  Here are those signs.

  • Your garden or land you own has a hill that is dangerous or slippery.
  • The hills in your land or garden makes it difficult to use the garden or organise it.
  • The uneven state of your land or in your garden means you can’t plant flowers or vegetables, or build there.
  • Your children or guests can’t freely use the garden due to the uneven floor.
  • Rain pools into the deeper levels of your garden or land.

Neglecting these signs could mean injury, or inconvenience, depending on the circumstances at hand, and the area the retaining could be installed.

How to make a concrete retaining wall look better?

How to make a concrete retaining wall look better?

When you think of a concrete wall, you generally think of a grey, drab piece of structure that doesn’t really have any character to it.

The same can be said for a concrete retaining wall. However, aside from being the best material to use for a retaining wall, concrete is also versatile enough for you to make it look better. Let us explain.

  • With PPC, you can not only opt for plain concrete blocks for your retaining wall, but you can also get a ‘Rock Face block’. Which is a concrete block with rocks coming from the concrete itself on the front and back of the block. This results in a natural look.
  • You can choose to paint the concrete however you wish. It is only limited to your imagination. You can use regular paint, spray paint, and more!
  • You can create decorations to attach to the retaining wall, which again is completely dependent on your creativity.
  • Furthermore, you can add outdoor furnishings by the retaining wall, such as a bench, a table, or chairs. This creates a more welcoming atmosphere if the retaining wall is in a garden or public area.

What’s the best way to decorate a concrete retaining wall?

Using an acrylic-latex paint is the best option, though you may need to apply a form of sealant beforehand to allow the paint to be consistent across the surface. If this is an option you are considering whilst using our concrete blocks for your retaining wall, please contact us first so we can provide the best guidance going forward.

How should I not decorate my concrete retaining wall?

  • Carving the concrete – Carving a retaining wall made of concrete, regardless of the methods you use to achieve it, has the potential to affect the structural stability of the retaining wall.
  • Using chemicals that could impact the concrete’s resilience – This is mainly acids. Although this isn’t used for decoration, it is worth noting to keep it away from the concrete.
  • With foul, offensive language.

What else can retaining walls be made from?

What else can retaining walls be made from?

Retaining walls have the capability to be created from more than just one material. The common materials that are used to make retaining walls are…

All three materials have their own merits as to why they should be used for retaining walls, but ultimately, they do have downsides, some more so than others. Let us explain…

Concrete retaining walls pros and cons


  • Can be interlocked for reinforced stability.
  • Its immense weight makes it difficult to displace.
  • The most durable option of the three.
  • Is also weatherproof.


  • Can’t be moved without lifting equipment.
  • Can look bland.
  • Must be ordered for usage, extremely difficult to create on site, if at all.

Wood retaining walls pros and cons


  • Can provide a nice, natural aesthetic.
  • Can be set up in more than one way.
  • An easier resource to obtain.
  • Can be weatherproofed


  • The weakest of the three materials available.
  • Can be prone to fire.
  • Possibility it may rot
  • Can slant over time due to the continuous pressure of the weight behind it.

Metal retaining walls pros and cons


  • Has a formidable level of durability
  • Can provide a unique aesthetic
  • Depending on the thickness of the metal, it can prove to be capable of retaining the earth behind its wall.


  • Can be
  • Although durable, it can end up with dents and other blemishes if it incurs damage.
  • Depending on the metal you choose, it will rust.
  • On extremely hot days, it could burn someone, if it is in the direct line of sunshine.

Buy a concrete retaining wall today

What’s the point in using an expert for a retaining wall?

As an established supplier all over the UK, PPC Concrete Products is always happy to help, which is why we encourage you to get in touch with any questions you may have or have a look at our FAQ.

In this blog, we hope to have clearly shown you how to make a concrete retaining wall look better, whilst also providing additional information including construction solutions that we offer.

Take a read of our case studies to truly understand how we have provided solutions for business in the past with the use of our interlocking concrete blocks, and ultimately, how we can help you today.

Read our blog page for more insights into our passion, construction.


The Old Gasworks,

Higginshaw Lane,




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Monday to Friday – 8 AM until 4 PM

Tel: 01706 655245


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