Your successful retaining wall build

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Having a retaining wall built, choosing who is building it, and what it looks like, can be intimidating.  As someone who deserves to have their retaining wall built properly and look good , we want to help you with your buying process so that you get the best service possible, and know that your money was well spent on your project.

This article will answer most, if not all of your retaining wall questions, and help you make an educated buying decision.

Trust is an important component to figuring out who you want to work with, and we want to show you exactly who we are, and how we can provide you with exceptional service.

Unfortunately, we have been seeing and hearing more and more customers being taken advantage of by contractors.  Homeowners are losing lots of money on projects like retaining wall builds, and our hope is that this information will prevent people from getting taken advantage of. 

We understand that we are not a great fit for everyone, but want to provide you with this info so that you are able to ask the right questions to whoever you end up hiring to build your wall. 

To choose what company to work with, you should know the following:

  1. What qualifications do they have?
  2. What do their past customers say about them? (Google Reviews)
  3. What is the process of working with them like?
  4. How do they build their walls? 

We will answer all of these questions for you so that you really know who we are, what we stand for, and if we are the right fit for one another. 

Back 40 Landscaping qualifications 

Sam is our certified Allan Block experienced retaining wall installer. To attain this level of certification, he has done a combination of classroom training, field training, and job site experience, covering all of the most challenging aspects of building a retaining wall.

Each and every wall that is built by Back 40 landscaping is submitted to Allan Block for approval, and all of our walls are built to Allan Block specifications.

When sent in for approval, they  are checked by Bruce Stickney who works for Allan Block as their trainer and liaison, and is a highly knowledgeable veteran of the retaining wall community.

We are so thankful that we have Bruce as a mentor and someone we can run ideas by and brainstorm with. A lot of the projects we take on are difficult ones, and Bruce is a second set of eyes for us.

We also have a City of Abbotsford Business License, WorkSafeBC, and insurance to keep homeowners  protected during their projects.

When looking for a retaining wall company to work with, its vital to make sure that the contractor can deliver you a product that is going to last, and be covered should a problem arise during your project.

Google Reviews 

We understand that when doing research for a project being done on your home you want to do your due diligence, and trust the company that you are working with.

The best way to do this in our opinion is to show you what it’s like to work with us and hear from our past customers.

As of August 18, 2023 we have 50 Google Reviews with a 4.9-star rating.

Throughout this article you will have the chance to read our retaining wall reviews from past customers we have worked with, and see what they have to say about us.


“I am very happy with the experience and the final product of our project with Back40 Landscaping. My project included a two-tier Allen Block retaining wall, large interlocking brick patio, walkways, and driveway. All looks amazing! Sam and Andrew were efficient, skillful, and made sure to ‘do it right’. They built to, or exceeded, Code with everything they built and they were very thoughtful of the workplace. They were careful of where they staged their equipment and materials to minimize impact for myself and my neighbours. After every shift, they cleaned up behind themselves going so far as to sweep the street if needed. Very impressed and can’t recommend them enough!”

What is it like to work with us? 

Our process

After reading this document, we provide you with a complimentary phone consultation with Sam (Our owner/experienced retaining wall builder).

During this consultation Sam will go over any questions you have about your project, and will be able to provide you with a ballpark price for your individual project over the phone.

Once you are ready to move forward with your retaining wall project, Sam will do a site consolation with you and whoever else is involved.

During the site consultation,  project details are finalized, the contract is signed, and a 25% deposit is taken to book your project into our calendar.  

Who should be involved in your call with Sam?

You are getting ready to spend your hard earned money, and everyone that is involved in your project such as your spouse, partner or business partner should be on the call.

Having everyone that is involved in the project be apart of the call will ensure that we are all on the same page, and know what is important to each and everyone.

You and your spouse/partner may want to have the retaining wall done for different reasons, and we want to know what those reasons are so that everyone gets exactly what they want, and to provide you with the best service as possible. 

Whoever is involved should be reading this document as well!

What happens during your complimentary phone consultation with Sam?

Sam will ask you to confirm any measurements you have given him, answer any questions you have about your retaining wall, what your design budget for your wall is (more on that later), and what access to your space looks like. (We need a minimum of 40 inches at the narrowest point to be able to access your space with our machines).

We also confirm whether or not your retaining wall will need city permits or engineering.

Once all of your questions are answered, you will be provided with a ballpark price for your specific project right there on the phone. If the price bracket matches your budget and you are ready to move forward with your project, we will schedule a site consultation as your next step.

Site consultations are $0-$500 depending on the level of design required. 


“Sam & his team did a REMARKABLE job on our sloped tiered backyard that was needing 2 new retaining walls and trying to make the slope not as steep. He treated our yard like it was his own, making sure the little details were included and not missed. He’s very knowledgeable and handled things professionally when we came across a mishap with some pipes. We are thrilled with the outcome of our new backyard and would recommend him and his crew to everybody. You are in great hands if you choose Back40!”

Your projects design, scope of work, and ball park price 

Why do we need to know your budget?

Your budget gives us a starting point to be able to design your specific retaining wall, and will allow us to deliver your project exactly how you want it.

Retaining walls can be built many different ways, with a variety of materials. By providing us with a design budget we are able to offer you suggestions on what we can do for you within that budget.

Things like changing the scope of work or  not protecting grass with plywood  can change the price of your project, and still allow us to be able to provide you with a structurally sound and beautiful retaining wall within that budget.

If you are thinking that you have no idea what your budget should be, take a look at our retaining wall prices (coming up soon in the article!)

Using your wall measurements, see what category your wall belongs in and go from there.

You should be able to get a good idea on the starting price for your wall. If you would like any add ons such as stairs or lighting, or the site is hard to access, then your starting price will go up from there. 

How can we provide you with a  price for your wall without first seeing your retaining wall ?

The three main things we need to know about your retaining wall are if it needs a permit/engineering, what the wall measurements are, and if we have site access. 

All we need you to provide us with are pictures and rough measurements. If you are unable to measure the retaining wall using a tape measurer or by walking the length of it and counting steps, we can look on google earth and do it for you. 

We are able to then use the information, to give you a ballpark price (price range) without physically coming into your space. 

Retaining wall permits, engineering, and typical designs

By far one of the most important concepts you will learn about retaining walls is this section.

Gravity wall: An Allan Block gravity wall is a simple small retaining wall that has no additional structural components to make it stronger than just the blocks.

Reinforced Geogrid wall: A reinforced Geogrid wall is like a gravity wall, but is reinforced with geogrid to make it stronger. Geogrid is a type of structural netting that extends into the soil behind the retaining wall. A retaining wall that is reinforced with geogrid will require substantially more excavation and gravel backfill


We at Back 40 Landscaping build both our Gravity walls, and Reinforced Geogrid walls to Allan Block typical engineered designs. This includes a large gravel drainage section behind the wall to lessen the weight of the soil pushing on the wall. The first row of block is buried into the ground to stop the wall from sliding out, and full compaction of the gravel under, behind, and even directly on top of the blocks. These engineered typical designs are drawn by an engineer based out of the head office in Minnesota.


How high can a gravity wall be?

Gravity walls can range in height from 1’ 1” – 5’ 10” depending on the site soil type, and weight surcharges above the wall like a vehicle, building, or ground slope.

When do you need to build a Reinforced Geogrid retaining wall?

When heights, site soil conditions, and weight surcharges above the wall exceed the capabilities of a gravity wall a reinforced geogrid retaining wall should be built.

When does a city require a building permit and local engineered stamped drawings?

Municipalities usually require a building permit for any retaining wall over 4’. Some cities such as North Vancouver require permits and engineering for Retaining walls over 3’ in height.

Tiered walls that are closer than 2x the lower wall height will also require a building permit and engineering.

Local engineering is based off of the Allan Block typical designs we use, and takes into account earthquake requirements, soil bearing capacity, sliding, overturning, and global stability. It also includes general tolerances, and provides WorkSafe memos for site safety conditions and requirements.

Tiered retaining walls

Retaining walls that are tiered and spaced a minimum of 2x the lower wall height apart, are considered to be independent of each other. This means you could build a 3’ high wall, then have a 6’ wide tier and then build another 3’ wall without needing a building permit or stamped engineered drawings.

Permit and Engineering not required for this project

Gravity Wall and Reinforced Geogrid retaining wall typical applications.

Gravity wall:

Wall height less then 3-4’ depending on municipality.

Flat ground below and above the retaining wall.

No additional weight surcharge on top of the wall like a vehicle, building, pool/hot tub, etc.

Good draining soils behind and underneath the retaining wall.

Tiered retaining walls spaced a minimum of 2x the lower wall height.

Reinforced Geogrid retaining wall:

Wall height greater than 3-4’ depending on municipality will require permit and engineering.

Sloped ground below or above the retaining wall.

Additional weight surcharge on top of the wall like a vehicle, building, pool/hot tub, etc.

Poor draining soil under or behind the retaining wall.

Tiered retaining walls that are closer than 2x the lower wall height.


“From the moment Back40 started my perimeter drainage and retaining wall project, I could see Sam and Victor’s dedication. They arrived early and stayed late; one day I came home and Victor was still filling Allen Blocks at 19:00 on a Friday because he wanted to finish the first row (now, that is commitment!).
Despite the endless water and excavation, Sam continued to strive to find the solution when many would have given up. I found comfort knowing that he would continue to explore his options until he found a solution he had confidence in.
Back40 has transformed my backyard into an oasis for years to come. They will definitely be back to attack the front retaining walls once I have restocked the renovation fund ;-)”

The retaining wall build 

BC 1 Call

Before every project that we do, we submit a ticket to BC 1 Call. This ensures that we are aware of any utilities in the area that we need to avoid. 

Getting ready for your retaining wall project

The day/night before we start your retaining wall build, we load any machines and tools we need for your job. This includes our skidsteer, excavator, track dumpers and porta potty. 

Retaining wall projects require quite a bit of tools and equipment, and sometimes we take multiple trips to deliver everything the day before so that we can get started on your build right away on the first day. 

Building a ramp 

Getting to the retaining wall site can sometimes have its challenges, especially when the access to the site is poor. 

In some cases before we can actually start building the wall, we need to get access to it. 

If this is the case it means having to clear a path of trees or bushes, and build a ramp that our machines can get in and out of. 

Ramps are usually made out of gravel or soil depending on the site. 

Demo of the old retaining wall 

Most of the time we are replacing an old failing retaining wall, and need to demolish it and haul it off site before we can dig the trench for the retaining wall. 


This is the part of the project where it starts to get exciting! 

Using our excavator, we excavate a trench that is approx. 12 inches deep and 32 inches wide.

Soil compacts 1.3 x its size once its been excavated, so there is a lot of soil to be taken out of your yard and disposed of.

One of the most common things we hear during this stage is how the homeowner cannot believe how much soil gets excavated!

We use a track dumper that holds 6 wheelbarrows worth of material to get all of the excavated soil from the retaining wall site, to the road.

This not only helps us make sure we are not cheating the amount of excavation we do for your retaining wall, but cuts down on time and labor.

This part of a retaining wall build can get cheated due to how labor intensive it is to not only dig the trench, but to bring all of the soil out of the yard.

It is not uncommon for contractors to cheat the excavation so that they do not need to wheelbarrow out as much soil. 


Excavation for engineered retaining walls 

For larger engineered retaining walls, we excavate approx. 12” below the surrounding grade, and back at least 60% of the wall height.

This means for a 10’ high wall, 6’ behind it has to be excavated, and cut out to make room for the Block, gravel, and geogrid.

To give you an idea on how much soil this is , on a wall that is 100’ long, 10’ high this produces about 350 yds of soil, or 29 full size dump trucks.

Soil Disposal 

In some instances due to the large amount of soil that is being hauled off site we may use dump trucks for disposal. 

For smaller jobs we use our own dump truck and trailer.

Sometimes our customers own property and have a space to dump the soil. In this case we can keep the soil onsite and raise up an area of the property if needed. (This is only on large properties due to the amount of soil that gets excavated). 

Basing the wall 

Once the trench is dug, the base rock can be placed and compacted. We use a laser level to ensure the exact grades are met based on the property elevations.

The most important step of ensuring that the retaining wall is level and straight is this first row of blocks. When a wall is based each block must be perfectly level front to back, side to side, and block to block. 

In addition to being level the blocks must also perfectly follow either a stringline or curved fiberglass rod depending on the design of the retaining wall.

The first row of most retaining walls takes more time than all the other rows combined.



Backfilling the wall 

After the base is in, the wall blocks can start getting stacked on top of one another. 

Each row is built, and gravel is placed behind and inside of the blocks. 

This clear gravel  is uniformed in size, and acts  as drainage for your retaining wall. 

Some contractors use the excavated soil from the trench as backfill because it saves them money on gravel, and the labor and cost for soil disposal.

If soil is used instead of gravel as backfill, your wall will eventually fail due to the heavy, wet, soil that will be pushing up against your wall (lack of drainage). 

Lack of drainage is the number one reason a retaining wall fails!

Importing enough gravel for a retaining wall requires special equipment due to the weight and volume of the gravel required. 

You can’t simply use a wheelbarrow, and this is why we move all material with our track dumpers.

Gravel behind the wall acts as drainage, and typically drainage zones underneath and behind an Allan Block wall is a minimum  depth of 6” of ¾” clear gravel below the wall, and 12” behind the wall.

The typical or minimum amount of gravel to use is a starting point, and can quickly change by specific site conditions.

If there is poor draining onsite, we will increase the drainage zone, and if there are any other weight surcharges, like a shed, slope above the wall, parked vehicle etc. the drainage zone will also be increased.

Compacting the wall

The gravel that is used under and behind our retaining walls is compacted to prevent future settling, and to strengthen the wall by locking the block and gravel together. 

Contrary to popular belief, Allan blocks by themselves are not what retains the soil. Even though they weigh 70lbs each, they are far too light to hold back the soil. 

When we combine the weight of the Allan wall blocks and gravel together, we double the weight, and now can retain more soil. To do this, we compact the gravel and blocks together.

This is done by using a compactor on top of each row of the blocks and behind the blocks, making a minimum of 2 passes on top of the blocks, and. extending all the way towards the back of the cut. 

Compacting directly on top of the blocks is recommended by Allan Block as it increases the strength by about 30%. Unfortunately, almost no contractors do it because of the extra time it takes to stringline/straighten every row, backfill it with gravel, clean off the blocks, and then compact them.

Instead most contractors will build the wall up 4-5 rows at a time and them backfill it all at once. This saves time, and money, but results in a much weaker retaining wall that will not stand up over time.

Regardless of how much work is required we do our very best to build every Allan Block retaining wall as strong, level, and straight as we can.

Drainage pipe  

A drainage pipe is placed behind the wall to provide an outlet for  water to go, as well as a dedicated void space that can be cleaned or emptied if the drainage gravel ever gets plugged. 

Adding drainage behind the wall is important because without a drainage system the retaining wall will eventually fail. 

For Allan Block retaining walls structural failure can be caused by excess water weight pushing a retaining wall out, or over.

This water can cause the foundation to erode, and the wall to sink or dip in places. Water movement causes erosion, and if left unchecked will cause varying levels of failure.

Retaining walls can aesthetically fail when water has caused blocks to open up, or separate.

This can happen during winter when water freezes and expands. Blocks may go back to normal, or they may permanently stay out of place.

Often time these gaps will then start leaking out dirt and be a constant eye sore.

While not structurally deficient, a retaining wall that is moving will not perform as a focal point that it did, or should be.

Retaining wall caps 

Once the wall is built to its correct height and everything is backfilled and compacted, all of the caps need to be placed and glued.

When retaining wall caps are uneven, it stands out, so we cut our caps using our dustless concrete saw instead of the typical hand saw most contractors use. 

This saw allows for a perfect cut every time, finishing the top of the wall nicely. 

Finishing touches

Each wall that we build can be finished however the homeowner wants, and what their individual budget allows.

Some walls are finished with rock or gravel, some with soil and plants, and others with grass.

This is where you as the homeowner get to add your creative touch, and it is a great way to really turn your retaining wall into a focal point, and make it stand out.

While a failing retaining wall may seem like a project that you “have to” get done, this is a perfect opportunity to add beauty and depth to your space.

You can even consider yourself lucky that you can get a retaining wall built, as homeowners on flat land who want to dramatically change their yards wish that they could add retaining walls to their space.


“I could not imagine a better experience. Consistently prompt, amazing communication, impeccable work…. But most importantly their customer service was absolutely incredible. Everyone on site was approachable, friendly and knowledgeable. They happily took a few minutes to talk about their machines with a very interested 3 year old who came to visit and waved to him from the window as they drove past. They sourced the most beautiful trees for the yard and built a retaining wall for us. Sam openly communicated with the guys that were putting in our chain link and got everything set up for them. And he gave our neighbours daily reports on what was done/what to expect. Everything was taken care of down to the last detail – things like sweeping our driveway and street at the end of every work day. (We don’t have any photos of the retaining wall as our neighbours are the one who get to enjoy the absolutely perfect wall.) And Sam delivered our massive pile of dirt for our soon to be garden – which has been the greatest gift to the youngest in the house. This yard was horrible when we moved in – massive ankle breaking holes dug all over, sand patches, fences that were falling down, horrible patchy lawn that stunk. Sam and Natasha and the team have turned it into something that Nonna Guja and all her grandkids (and myself and her oldest granddaughter who live with her) will enjoy for years to come. We can not thank them enough or recommend them enough. They have built a place where so many lasting memories will be made.”

Types of retaining walls we build 

While we are certified in building Allan Block walls, we can build any type of retaining wall you want.

We always  recommend installing an Allan Block wall due to how long the product lasts and how its look upgrades any space, but we can build rock walls, poured concrete walls, and wood walls if your heart is set on it. 

Retaining wall repairs

We can repair a retaining wall if it is possible/makes sense to do so.

Some walls are so deteriorated that the only option is to replace the entire wall, while others (especially rock walls) can be repaired. 

This is something that can be discussed during your phone call with Sam. 

What types of machines  does Back 40 Landscaping own?

The main machines used in our retaining wall builds are  a skid steer, mini excavator, and  track dumpers. 

Our mini excavator allows us to get into small residential back yards, and the skidsteer is fantastic at loading dump trucks. 

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.


“Sam was beyond professional, from working with the city to finishing the project, he worked with us when we wanted changes along the way and made suggestions when we weren’t sure what we wanted. Everything was detailed in a contract so we all knew what the expectations were for construction and payments. Most impressive was their attention to detail and to make sure they did things right. Our old patio and driveway didn’t have any base – no wonder it cracked and broke! Sam went beyond code to properly install a stable foundation so I’m certain this project will last decades. We joked that he was like Mike Holmes making sure everything was perfect – but it’s true. Very happy with the entire experience and absolutely happy with the final project. I would recommend Back40 to anyone needing hardscaping or landscaping. Absolutely worth 5-stars!”

What To Expect During A Retaining Wall Installation 

While covering every issue ahead of time is impossible for any type of project, there are common issues when it comes to building retaining walls.

On our site consultation we go over major components of a retaining wall build, such as where homeowners should park, material staging, equipment parking and access, and where our portable toilet should go.

 Our Hours of operation

Our typical work days are Monday-Friday 7:00am-4:00pm. We abide by city bylaws, and will let you know if our hours change for any reason. 

On some occasions we may work Saturdays, but this will be communicated to you beforehand. 


When excavating during the dry season, the space we are working in will be dusty.

This dust will blow several houses down the road, and can get all over your home.

To prevent this as much as possible we wet the areas to suppress the dust. 


While we abide by all city noise bylaws and try to be courteous to neighbours, our machines and tools do make noise.

Our machines are as loud as a lawnmower, and cutting blocks with a gas-powered saw can be a bit noisy. 

Project Change Orders

Change orders are changes to the contract, that are agreed upon prior to the work being done.

This can be optional add Ons, or project changes due to unforeseen site conditions.

An example of this would be finding garbage while excavating. If this was the case, a change order would be made for the disposal fee and the time taken to dispose the garbage.

While rare, it does happen on occasion as you can see from the picture below.

old drywall found while excavating for a retaining wall

Sometimes during a project things can come up unexpectedly, and thats why we advise customers to  have some extra money set aside to cover those unexpected events. 

We always communicate with homeowners before making any changes, and give them the choice to move forward or not. You will never get an unexpected change order without us communicating the change to you first, and you signing off on it. 

Optional add ons 

Optional add on happen when customers realize they may want stairs or lights added to their retaining wall, or walkways added.

The earlier we can make these changes the better, as once certain stages of the project are done we cannot go back and change them without having to completely redo the wall.

Change orders are documented and paid for prior to the work being completed.

Live signatures can be taken if customers are home, or a DocuSign is emailed.

All of our payments are accepted by E-Transfers, cheques, cash or credit cards.

Damage to lawns / Driveways

Excavating and moving as much soil to the front yard as we have to requires small heavy construction equipment.

For a large retaining wall it is not uncommon to take about 1400 trips across the yard to move the soil and gravel in and out. Add in another few hundred trips for the blocks and cleanup, you can easily be around 2000 trips in and out.

No lawn will stand up to 50 trips, let alone 2000.

To avoid damage, we put down a plywood road to drive on, or repair the lawn afterwards. This is dependent on what your budget is and what you prefer.

On small project using plywood is the obvious choice, while on larger projects repairing afterwards is usually the smart choice. This is especially true if you would like a new lawn afterwards!

Hard surfaces like driveways are limited in use so we don’t cause any damage to them. We do however, need to stage our porta potty, pallets of materials, and the equipment. No matter how much space we have access to, we quickly use it all up.

Our soil and gravel needs to get stored during the project, and while we avoid putting them on driveways whenever possible, sometimes it is the only place to store these materials.

Any materials that are on the road are coned off, and we do a good gas-powered broom cleanup every night that helps keep the inconvenience in check.

Consideration for your neighbours

Your neighbours will be minorly inconvenienced during the project build . Less so on a small projects, 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 they require anything from us. We make their experience with us as great as we can.

Damage to Plants / Trees

Plants or trees that are in the excavation zone will usually need to be removed, however if they are important and worth working around, we certainly do our best to do so.

When running tracked equipment over the ground with roots it will usually not cause  damage to trees, but is something to be aware of it.


For us, communication is key, and to ensure we are on the same page and everyone is happy, Back 40 landscaping will start a what’s app or group chat with Sam, Natasha (Owner/office manager) and you and your spouse or partner.

This is a fantastic way to communicate the day’s events, any questions you may have, and share pictures throughout the project.

After the project you will receive a call from Natasha 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months to ensure that you are still happy with your project, and are given the chance to communicate anything you feel is important.

During the spring you will hear from us again as we book our follow up site visits.

During our follow up visits we check the wall for any damage that  the winter may have caused, and make sure that you are still completely satisfied with the project.


“Sam and his crew from Back 40 Landscaping replaced a rotten and fallen wooden retaining wall with a beautiful Allan Block wall. I found everyone to be very polite, curtiuos and extremely professional. They all worked hard and took pride in their work. Sam was meticulous placing each Allan block. He strove for perfection and the finished wall exceeded my expectations. Sam and Natasha were wonderful and helped to make this a great experience. Thank you to every at Back 40 Landscaping for my beautiful new wall!”

retaining wall prices

While every site is different, and each wall is unique, here is a breakdown of our prices based on the size and height of a typical retaining wall. 

These prices are ballpark, and are just an example of what a starting price for your wall can be. 

Price is affected by site access, retaining wall block and color choice, retaining wall ad ons, finishes, and more. 

Small Retaining Wall


25 ft long and 4 ft high retaining wall.

 Average Retaining Wall


80 ft long and 4 ft high retaining wall

Large Retaining Wall


100 ft long terraced retaining wall 4 ft high with staircase.

Our Payment terms

Some contractors will use your deposit  to pay for other homeowners job materials. When this happens, if the contractor runs out of money they will not be able to cover your projects costs.

This is when homeowners projects do not get completed, because the contractor has no money left to get materials for your job. 

Another problem we see with projects is contractors using credit accounts when buying materials from their suppliers and running out of money.

When contractors cannot pay those suppliers back, the suppliers will come to you, the homeowner, to pay for them because the materials are already in your yard and have been used. 

The payments that we receive from you go towards your wall, and your wall only.

When paying for materials, we do not use any credit accounts, so you never need to worry about your materials not being paid for.

Deposit Payment

25% Due at site consultation / contract signing

Second Payment 50%

Due prior to project commencement

Third Payment 15%

Due halfway through project

Fourth Payment 10%

Due at the beginning of the final day



“We are very happy with the results of our yard reno . Including a retaining wall,paving stone patio,driveway and walkways. There were many unforseen issues and challenges along the way. But all were handled on a very professional way. This team have a great work ethic, are knowledgeable and pay incredible attention to detail. Final product is beautiful. Would highly recommend.”

Retaining wall design 

Retaining Wall Add Ons

Add ons are a fun extra we get to install to bring your retaining wall project to life. Ideally these adds ons are done before the project starts, as it is harder to add on to a retaining wall after the build has started.

Essential Add Ons for your retaining Wall

The essential add ons to a retaining wall project will vary, and some, or many of these, may not be relevant to your specific project.

Professionally designed planting space

A well thought out, designed, and drawn landscaping design will completely transform the look of your yard.

It costs about $2,000-$3,000, and provides you the comfort knowing the right plants are chosen, planted in the right lighting condition, and they all work together.

As of right now we do not have a designer on staff, but will be able to work with a designer of your choosing.


Landscape lighting is the final brush stroke on an otherwise beautiful space.

The pinnacle of landscape design is elevation, depth, color, curves, and lighting. This is because in the evening as the summer light fades you are able to highlight plants, and trees in a very warm way.


Optional Add Ons for your retaining wall

Hand rails

If you, or your friends and family, have children or are older, Hand railings incorporated into to an Allan Block staircase may be a consideration for you.


Guard railings should be considered when there is a fall potential of greater than 24”.

The requirement is usually dependant on if the space above the wall where the fall could take place from is accessible or not.

If it is accessible than this should be discussed.


Fences or privacy screens on top of a retaining wall can really enclose the space, and make you much more comfortable outside.

Ideally this should be planned prior to construction so structural components can be added when building your Allan Block retaining wall.

Retaining Wall Block Options

Allan Block is a name for a collection of 3 styles of retaining wall blocks.

We love working with Allan Block, but are able to work with any retaining wall product you want.

Something to keep in mind is that some products need to be special ordered, will cost more, and take longer to receive.

This is another reason why we like Allan Block because it is readily available to us, and we have different suppliers we work with to get the product in a timely manner. 

AB Classic collection

The most recognized Allan Block is the AB Classic collection.

The AB Collection gives a smooth fluid finish to any outdoor living space. This block is one that most homeowners go with as it looks great with older homes, and newly built ones.

AB Aztec Collection

The AB Aztec Collection offers a smooth, molded face look and style inspired by old Incan walls to emulate a centuries old feel. This block is for anyone wanting a retaining wall that stands out.

AB Metropolitan collection

The AB Metropolitan Collection offers a mid-century modern style with the same dependable Allan Block system in this brand-new smooth face look. This block looks fantastic when combined with a newly built home or a landscape that is modern.

Allan Block retaining wall  colors 

AB Classic


Color combos for your retaining wall

Any type of color combo can be done for your retaining wall, and it really is up to the homeowner on whether or not they want to mix and match the wall and cap colors, or keep them the same.

Our recommendation is to have a different cap color than your wall to add contrast, especially if you have a large retaining wall with tiers. Having one straight color can make a large wall look cold, while adding different colors gives the wall a personality.

How to choose a block color for your space

The color you choose for your retaining wall is really based on what colors you like, how large your retaining wall is, and what your home and the surrounding landscape looks like. 

Many homeowners will drive around their neighbourhoods and see what other people have chosen for their retaining walls to get inspiration. 

You can also go to a landscaping store that carries these products and see the product in person, as sometimes pictures do not capture how the color of the block really looks. 

On our site visits most of the time we are  able to bring a sample of the wall block so you can see it in person. 

Allan Block 3 most popular color options

“Sam, Natasha and crew are fantastic! They transformed our sloped unusable backyard into an oasis with a retaining wall, kids play space, level area for a pool and a beautiful flagstone paver fire pit patio space. The crew works well together, they are professional, and respectful to us and our neighbours. Sam is passionate about what he does, and it shows in his work. They gave us a backyard for our family to enjoy for years to come. We would highly recommend them.”

Next steps

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about our company!

Now that you know more about retaining walls, and what it looks like to work with us, please think of any questions you have before your call that are important to you.

Take the time to dream about what you want your retaining wall to look like, what the entire finished project looks like, and be ready to tell Sam your budget and timeline.

We look forward to working with you!