Shea Homes Colorado and Sage Design Group knew exactly what they wanted in landscaping design for Stepping Stone, a modern, single family home development in Parker, Colorado.
Phil Sage, founder of Sage Design Group and lead designer for the project explained, “We wanted to do things a little bit differently than what you’d find in a standard subdivision.” The key element in providing that uniqueness was a series of retaining walls - 33 retaining walls, to be exact.
“Instead of just having straight rectilinear walls like you would see in most walls in developments, we wanted to make it quite a bit more artistic, with everything much more organic,” explained Sage. But these walls needed to do more than look visually appealing. “What we ended up creating was a retaining wall that’s fluid, but also two sided. That helped us get the height up, and helped with visual and sound attenuation from the nearby highway.”
Sage and Shea Homes also hoped that they could use color to make the community open spaces as fresh, welcoming and attractive as possible. All of these unique specifications presented the developers of Stepping Stone with an exciting challenge: how to create functional walls that are beautifully organic, and a little bit different, without breaking the bank.
The solution came from contractor and retaining wall specialist, Rod Rucker of R&S Retaining Walls. Rucker introduced the design team to the line of Rosetta Hardscapes products being made by Basalite Concrete Products in Denver, CO. With help from Basalite, Sage and Shea Homes decided that Rosetta’s Belvedere line of freestanding and retaining wall blocks would suit their needs exactly.
The original intent of the design was to build natural stone retaining walls. However, as Basalite Operations Manager Joe Kerrigan, professional engineer, reasoned, “those retaining walls were going to cost them an arm and a leg.” Both Sage and Kerrigan noted how Belvedere proved to be an excellent alternative. Sage said it this way; “The product is much more organic feeling. By the way it installs, it creates a lot of shadow effect, helping to make it feel more natural. It’s a lot more visually interesting when you see those lines that are random, as opposed to a lot of product out there which sits straight across, feeling very manmade.”
The Belvedere Collection is a hand set line of wet cast concrete wall products. Multiple unit sizes, along with an industry leading 64 unique stone textures give the Belvedere Collection an incredibly natural look. As Kerrigan explained, “Belvedere provided another option, and unique aesthetics to the end user.”
Basalite was even able to create a custom color to coordinate with the other elements of Stepping Stone’s landscape design. “We found Belvedere to be incredibly versatile – it really met the customer’s very specific needs,” said Kerrigan.
The collection’s two sided, authentic stone texture and size offered the development both function and finish for each type of wall, retaining and freestanding, exclusively and in combination. With Belvedere from Rosetta Hardscapes, Basalite and the contractor were able to meet the design team’s exact needs with precision and excellence, minus the excessive costs and complications of quarried stone.
The finished project for Stepping Stone was beautiful and affordable, and the unsurpassed versatility of Belvedere blocks meant a simple and dependable installation, wall after wall. Sage added, “we wound up getting a look that was a little bit different than what we started with, but at the end of the day, it is so unique. It is so different than anything else I’ve seen out there today - I look forward to using Rosetta on future projects.”
This project used 17,000 square feet of Belvedere.