Apple Valley

3500 Versa-Lock Blocks

Award Winning Design

Our Goal: A Safe Way to the Top and protect the castle

Our Client had several contractors out to look at what she had affectionately dubbed “Billy Goat Hill”. For one reason or another they did not get back to her and the few that did, expressed concern over the engineering, scale and difficulty of the proposed project. She had a huge back yard but it was all hill and the flow of water caused severe erosion that caused negative flow and pushed water into her basement’s foundation causing cracks and leaks.


it was evident

That our solution had to include soil retention and a massive amount of earth moving. The process of erosion causes what was at the top of a hill to wash down to the bottom. This process over 40 years had distributed a massive amount of fine soil at the foot of the hill which crept closer and closer to her home over the years. The first picture shows how close it was to the foundation. We needed to retain nearly 20 vertical feet of hill to give her a 20′ deep back yard since the slope was nearly 2:1. We achieved this by building 3 tiered walls with a small slope between the tiers. Each wall is re enforced with granular drainage fill and geo grid per engineering specs.

I knew that our client and her mother loved gardening so the tiers were a great place for them to get creative but I had to get them there safely. That is the reason I came up with the concept of off setting the steps so if there was a fall it would be limited to a short span opposed to a long straight staircase. This also provided us the opportunity to install little rest and reflection areas at the top of each step with a bench. The opposing radius pattern supplied a cool aesthetic affect.

This project was installed in 2014 and I was there the fall of 2016 to take the last pic with our drone. No movement and our client has enjoyed a dry basement, a back yard and a large vertical garden that is safely accessible.

This project has been featured on the cover of Erosion Control magazine and the cover of Landscape Contractor magazine and won 1st place in Versa-Lok Midwest’s Hardscape Design contest for retaining walls over 1000 square feet in 2015. It has also been featured in newspapers across the country including NY Times, LA Times and the Chicago Tribune.


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