If you need a retaining wall in your yard for structural or practical purposes, such as to improve drainage or eliminate a hilly area that’s tough to mow, don’t feel like it has to be just a ho-hum feature or an eyesore to be covered up with shrubs. Here are five ways you can make a retaining wall a focal point in your landscape and turn a regular wall into the best part of your yard. Make It Into a Seating Area If you have a short retaining wall, you can turn it into extra seating. This works especially well if the wall curves around a patio or flat space you could turn into a gathering area. Build the wall out of sturdy and thick materials, like heavy stone, and layer slabs of stone across the top to provide places for people to sit. You can always add weather-proof cushions if the bare stone feels too uncomfortable. Create a Fire Pit If you have a flat area at the top of your retaining wall, why not place your seating there, and build a fire pit into the wall itself? This is a great option when you have enough space to create a thick enough wall that it can both retain earth and hold wood or stones, the latter for a propane-fueled fire. Turn It Into a High Planter Do you wish you could keep your dogs or kids out of your carefully maintained garden? A retaining wall can be used as a high planter to protect plants from damage and to try out species you might not be able to grow elsewhere. Because you can change the type of soil in the wall, you can grow succulents that need a sandy environment, for example, or flowers like hydrangeas that prefer highly acidic earth. A planted retaining wall also adds height variation to your garden, which makes it more interesting. Build a Terrace If you have a long sloping area that you would like to eliminate with a retaining wall, it’s an ideal spot to put in a terraced garden. Terracing has been used for centuries in places like Asia to maximize the growing area for rice and other crops. You don’t have to do anything nearly as dramatic, but you can take a lesson from this type of landscaping efficiency. Rather than having one wall, a terrace garden uses several levels, with plants at each one. You can grow flowers, vegetables, and herbs in flat beds or create a more natural looking rock garden with alpine or similar plants. You could even build in a cascading water feature for the sound and visual beauty of your own little stream....