The summer sun sparkled over Green Lake as Nathan Kwantes used his pry-bar to scoot the last large block into place. Kwantes Landscaping’s first Outcropping retaining wall project was finished, and one happy homeowner confirmed that the crew could be proud of a job well done.
Roll the clock back a few months and you’ll find Kwantes and the Caledonia, MI homeowner, flipping through a Rosetta Hardscapes catalog. According to Kwantes, “I showed it to him and he said, ‘this is what I want to use.’” The 15-year-veteran contractor had never installed Outcropping before. But the unique design of the house and the scenic lakefront setting, along with a hands on, style-conscious customer all called for materials that would make an exceptionally attractive backyard retaining wall.
The Outcropping Collection features multiple unique block sizes and textures so that finished walls boast the appearance of natural stone with the structural design of architectural-grade precast concrete. Outcropping Collection blocks range in size from 24 inches (61 centimeters) to 72 inches (1.83 meters) wide, and from 6 inches (15.24 centimeters) to 24 inches (61 centimeters) tall.
The large size and engineered dimensions of the collection mean that even though the blocks are heavy, according to Kwantes, “you can make a lot of headway on a wall in a hurry.”
The lakefront landscape work was not without its challenges. "This whole property is one big grade." And according to Kwantes, “The product was shipped to the road up top. There was a 60-70 foot (18.3 - 21.34 meter) drop off down to where we needed to install all of the product, and about an 8 foot (2.44 meters) width to move it through.”
Add unexpected deck construction to an already over crowded job site, and Kwantes and his two installers had their work cut out for them. “We were working around a mason, a siding guy, and gutter guys, constantly moving other workers’ materials with our excavator.”
In spite of all of this, Kwantes found that he and his team had everything they needed. “I never really had that ‘oh no, what are we going to do’ moment. We got really good at moving those blocks around with our excavator.”
Local Rosetta rep Christian Kirkby was able to show them a few tricks as well. “Chris showed up with a sledge hammer, a level and a pry-bar. When he first grabbed the pry-bar I thought, there’s no way you’re going to move this 1200 pound (544 kilogram) block. But he did it.” The team moved and fine-tuned the placement of 110 retaining wall blocks in all, totaling around 500 square feet (46.5 square meters).
Kwantes and the homeowner used Rosetta Irregular steps to tie the two-tiered patio project together. The texture and color of the irregular steps worked seamlessly with the Outcropping blocks to create an especially organic looking landscape.
Rosetta Irregular Steps come in 6 different shapes that can be used in combination to present 12 different faces. Each provides a 5.5 inch (13.97 centimeter) rise. For the Green Lake backyard landscape project, Kwantes set 17 levels of steps adding up to 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) of elevation.
Kwantes and his team were able complete the Outcropping retaining wall and Irregular step stairwell in four weeks. The total project, including spouts, sprinklers and sod took around six weeks.
At the end of the project, contractor, homeowners and on-lookers all loved what they saw. Kwantes concludes, “It’s sitting on a lake that my in-laws live on so I got huge feedback all summer. It’s got a lot of lake appeal.”
To add lake appeal, street appeal or backyard design appeal to your next retaining wall project, check out the Rosetta Outcropping collection. Visit the Rosetta website at www.rosettahardscapes.com.