Retaining wall equipment,tools and safety

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Picture of Sam Maerz

Sam Maerz

Owner/Site Foreman

Retaining walls can be built with limited tools, but just like anything if you want to do really high-quality work you need to invest in the proper tools.

The right tools and equipment produce high quality work, helps us give you your yard back faster, and is much easier on your wall builders mentally and physically.

We have found that systems, and process have really helped our young guys pick up the craft quickly, and enabled everyone on our team to do every aspect of building a retaining wall.


Earth moving equipment

We do the bulk of our earth moving with our excavators, track dumpers, and compact track loader. On the street is our dump truck and trailer.

On large projects we subcontract out the trucking to a company that have a fleet of dump trucks.


 Back in the day, or, a few years ago, we used wheelbarrows to move materials that our mini excavator dug up.

It required a lot of labor and wheelbarrows to keep up. In an effort to improve this aspect of moving soil, we found the Wacker Neuson DT10 Track dumper.

Its 31” wide, and carries as much as our big skid steer.

It may look like a tonka toy, but I assure you this thing moves some serious material. After using it for a few months we realized we could never be without it. Seeing as how you can’t rent it locally, we purchased a 2nd unit for redundancy first, and to double our capacity.

New and Reliable equipment 

 One thing I have never understood about equipment is why a company would run old equipment.

We are retaining wall builders, not mechanics, so uptime, and reliability is important to us.

Timeline are tight, and having a piece of equipment run when we need it is nice. Of course, breakdowns are going to happen, but let’s do what we can do reduce them!


Owned Equipment vs. Rented

 There is a pretty big difference when comparing owning your equipment vs. renting equipment to build a retaining wall.

Generally speaking, I’m ok with renting, especially if you rarely use it, or it’s a big-ticket item.

For building retaining walls though I would prefer to own everything we need to use.

A lot of the tools you need sit idle for long periods of time, until you need them. When you need them, you don’t want to have to go get it, or even play the can I get away without it game.

Having all the right tools and equipment only goes so far unless you own it outright.

Back 40 Landscaping is a debt free company, with full access to all of our tools and equipment whenever we need them to build you the very best retaining wall.



Electronic tools

Our little unsung hero that we take for granted is our dual slope laser level. This thing is accurate out to 2500’, and makes short work of excavating to the correct depth with our excavator receiver.

Being a dual slope laser, we can set an exact grade % in 2 directions.

This allows us to excavate to water will flow to one end of a retaining wall, AND drain towards the back of the trench where the drain pipe is.

Basing the retaining walls first course is time consuming and difficult to get perfect unless you have a lot of experience.

By using a laser lever, and a screed bar system we are able to grade the gravel to an exact elevation. This not only produces perfect conditions for the installer basing, it makes it so anyone with an eye for detail can actually base on their first day.

It’s great for moral, and allows us to deliver a high-quality retaining wall for you.


Hand tools

A common misconception is that a retaining wall is built simply by stacking blocks. For a good percentage of a wall that’s true, but there is a lot of hand work when building stairs, and details usually on both ends of the wall.

We carry all of the stone masonry hand tools you would expect cold chisels, hammers, levels, as well as rubber, nylon, and sledgehammers.

Our specialty retaining wall tools would be the cutting and coring drills, gas powered brick saw, and our table top brick saw.

Working outdoors we need to protect our tools, and keep your space clean, and tidy. The majority of our tools live in Milwaukee Packout kits, so they can stay dry while not in use.

Our 2nd biggest packout bin is our Emergency medical kit. Fully equipped to handle the most severe injuries onsite, and prepare for rapid transport to the hospital.

Other items in the kit are aimed at preventing injuries, and protection; gloves, earplugs, dust masks, and face shields.



Health and Safety of our staff and clients is taken serious here at Back 40 Landscaping. Safety is all of our responsibility, so if you see something, say something. It’s as much your job site as ours.


The Clients Safety

As you will notice we have some equipment with poor visibility, and excavations that are tripping hazards.

Please be careful when moving around the site. If possible, please gets someone eye contact when approaching equipment.

If there are any serious safety concerns, we will take appropriate action to restrict access.


Consideration for your neighbours

 Your neighbours will be minorly inconvenience. Less on a small project, but as we all use the street small delays, dust, and noise will occur.

Prior to starting every project, we knock on all your surrounding neighbours’ doors, and give them our direct line should we be able to anything that helps them out. We will make their experience with us as great as we can.


Workers Safety

 Everyone on our team is safety conscious and trained to protect themselves at all times. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and we look out for each other. We are covered by WorkSafeBC and our premiums are paid.


Silica Dust Exposure  

Cutting concrete produces silica dust which is harmful if exposed to it. All clients and unprotected employees are to stay aware from the area if any dust is present.

To avoid being exposed to harmful silica dust when cutting retaining wall blocks, we cut with water, and dry vacuums.

This reduces the exposure potential, and satisfies WorkSafeBC.

All employees have access to PPE (gloves, hearing protection, dust masks, face shields), and first aid equipment.