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All You Need To Know About Retaining Walls


Retaining walls are more than just aesthetically pleasing additions to your landscape. They’re crucial structures that prevent soil erosion, manage water runoff, and turn sloped land into usable space. In short, they retain the earth to create beautiful and functional landscapes. This post will dive into everything you need to know about retaining walls, helping you make informed decisions for your landscape design. 

Different Types of Retaining Walls 

Retaining walls come in several types, each with unique features and aesthetic appeal. Let’s explore a few: 

Armour Stone Retaining Wall 

Armour stone retaining walls are loved for their natural, rugged look. These large stones, often quarried from local sources, bring strength and durability to your retaining wall structure. Their size and weight make them ideal for larger, higher retaining walls that need to hold back substantial amounts of soil. 

Boulder Retaining Wall 

Similar to armour stone, boulder retaining walls provide a robust and natural aesthetic to any landscape. As their name suggests, these walls are constructed from giant boulders, offering a versatile and effective solution for preventing soil erosion and managing water runoff. 

Natural Stone Retaining Wall 

Natural stone retaining walls blend seamlessly into any landscape, adding elegance and charm. They are often built from cut stone, offering more uniformity and a wider range of design possibilities than armour stone or boulders. 

Interlock Stone Retaining Wall 

Interlock stone retaining walls are made of specially designed stones or concrete units that fit together without needing mortar. This type of retaining wall is popular due to its versatility, durability, and the variety of design options available. 

Critical Components of Retaining Walls 

Retaining walls may appear straightforward, but several key components ensure their stability and longevity. 

Structure and Design of Retaining Walls 

Retaining walls must be carefully designed and built to withstand the lateral pressure of the soil they are holding back. This often involves creating a sturdy base, installing proper backfill, and ensuring the wall leans slightly into the soil (a design known as “batter”). 

Retaining Wall Caps: A Vital Piece of the Puzzle 

Retaining wall caps are the finishing pieces placed on top of the wall, providing a clean, finished look and protecting the wall from weather damage. Beyond their aesthetic role, they play a crucial part in the wall’s structural integrity. 

Importance of Proper Drainage in Retaining Walls 

Water can be a retaining wall’s worst enemy, as it increases the soil’s weight and pressure against the wall. Therefore, proper drainage systems are critical to prevent water build-up and ensure the wall’s longevity. 

How to Choose the Right Retaining Wall Material 

Choosing the right material for your retaining wall is key to achieving the desired look and ensuring it stands the test of time. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Materials 

When deciding on materials, consider the wall’s purpose, the surrounding landscape, your budget, and maintenance requirements. Each material comes with its unique strengths and limitations. 

Pros and Cons: Armour Stone vs. Natural Stone vs. Interlock Stone 

Armour and boulder stone walls are robust and give a natural look but they can be more expensive due to their size and installation complexity. Natural stone offers a traditional, timeless aesthetic but may require more maintenance. Interlock stone is versatile, comes in various designs, and is easier to install and replace, but it may not offer the natural look some homeowners desire. 

Building a Retaining Wall: DIY vs. Professional Landscapers 

While building a small retaining wall might seem like a fun weekend DIY project, larger or more complex walls should be left to professionals. 

Risks of DIY Retaining Walls 

Without the proper knowledge and experience, DIY retaining walls can be structurally unsound, may not adequately handle water, or could even violate local building codes. 

The Advantages of Hiring Professional Landscapers 

Professional landscapers, like those at Bremner Construction, have the expertise to ensure your retaining wall is built correctly, efficiently, and beautifully. Plus, hiring professionals can save you time and the potential cost of mistakes. 

Why Choose Bremner Construction for Your Retaining Wall Needs

Our Experience with Retaining Walls 

With years of experience and a team of skilled professionals, Bremner Construction is a trusted name in Waterloo for creating durable and attractive retaining walls. We specialize in all types of retaining walls, from armour stone to interlock stone. 

What Makes Us Different: Stone Landscapes in Waterloo 

Our commitment to quality craftsmanship, attention to detail, and superior customer service set us apart. We’re not just landscapers; we’re artisans who take pride in creating beautiful stone landscapes in Waterloo. 

Creating Quality Retaining Walls Without Breaking the Bank 

We believe that quality and affordability can go hand in hand. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious natural stone wall or a budget-friendly interlock stone wall, we’re here to bring your vision to life without breaking the bank. 


Retaining walls are an essential element in any landscape design, providing both functional benefits and aesthetic appeal. By understanding the various types of retaining walls, their critical components, and the considerations for choosing materials, you can make an informed decision for your landscape project. 

Whether you’re leaning towards a rugged armour stone wall or an elegant natural stone wall, remember that professional installation is key to ensuring your wall is durable, safe, and beautiful. And if you’re in the Waterloo area, the team at Bremner Construction would be happy to help you create the perfect retaining wall for your needs.

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