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Rosetta Retaining Walls Turn Slope Into Usable Backyard

Rosetta Outcropping and Grand Flagstone turned this unusable riverbank into a functional entertainment space.


When the Small family purchased a riverfront lot near Winnipeg, Manitoba, they knew they would eventually have to deal with the steep slope that separated the house from the river. The grade change from the back door of the house to the river bank was 11-12 vertical feet (3.4-3.7 meters) over a 30-40 foot (9.1-12.2 meter) area.

"The slope didn't provide a comfortable or aesthetic transition," Small said. "With this project, we were trying to create a way to traverse from the upper patio down to the riverbank area where we wanted to build a new patio to enjoy that part of the yard." Doug Loeppky, owner of Hardscapes, Inc. summed up the challenge by saying: "The question was: how do we make this space usable, and what product would work as the best solution so we won't have to come back and re-do it in a few years?"


In making the decision, Small and Loeppky took several existing features into account. Incorporating the existing upper patio's look was essential, as was tying in a historic stone fireplace, which is a remnant of a homestead that once stood on the site. With those criteria in mind, Loeppky recommended using several different Rosetta Hardscapes products to complete the home's landscape.

"We looked at it in the brochures and we instantly fell in love," Small said of the complete Rosetta product line. "It complemented the texture and styling of the old stone chimney as well as our house. We went and checked out a few projects in our area and we knew this was exactly what we needed. Our yard has wood and vegetation so we wanted to keep the walls natural as well."

Here's how each component of the project became a reality over the course of just 10 working days:

The Walls

The project required 700 square feet (65 square meters) of retaining walls to create the three curved tiers.

"When I saw the Outcropping, it had the same feel as the walls in the upper patio but it was more geared for handling larger walls like these," Small said. "It has these phenomenally large dimensions that blended in beautifully with the upper patio." By choosing a system that required no geogrid, "we saved time and money," Loeppky explained. "We also eliminated the need to remove trees because our excavation was not so intrusive into the existing slope. I estimated that if we had built a conventional wall with tiebacks our cost would have increased a minimum of 30%."

The Rosetta Outcropping Collection features multiple unique block sizes and textures- giving walls the look and feel of natural stone with the structural design of architectural-grade precast concrete. Outcropping Collection blocks range in size from 24 inches (610 millimeters) to 72 inches (1829 millimeters) wide and from 6 inches (152 millimeters) to 24 inches (610 millimeters) tall.

The Stairs and Walkways

The design included the Rosetta Irregular Step Collection, which has a natural stone texture that mimics the look of quarried stone steps. The difference is that Rosetta steps have consistent dimensions-making them easier to install and easier for pedestrians to walk on.

The design included offsetting and curving the three sets of stairs to create a more natural transition. Between each set of stairs, Small chose to use the Rosetta Grand Flagstone Collection to create walking paths.

Grand Flagstone slabs replicate the shapes and texture of natural stone in 15 unique shapes that work together to create a natural looking walkway. Uniform 1.75 inch (44.5 millimeter) thicknesses make the slabs easy to install and easy to walk on.

The Lower Patio

Creating a space for the family to enjoy the river was a key goal of this project. With the historic chimney as a backdrop, the new patio design included pavers from Barkman Concrete as well as a Rosetta Belvedere Fire Pit Kit.

"Our concept was not to use the chimney as an active fireplace, but we wanted to have a fire pit nearby so we could still enjoy fires by the river," Small said.

The Rosetta Round Fire Pit coordinated beautifully with the natural stone textures and colors of the other Rosetta products in this landscape. The fire pit ring, blocks, and caps arrived to a site on one pallet, resulting in fast installation and no waste.


Rob Small couldn't be happier with his back yard now. "It turned out beautifully," he said. What could Rosetta do for your next project? 


Project Name: Winnipeg Residence Owner: The Small Family Block Manufacturer: Barkman Concrete, Ltd. Wall Installer: Hardscapes Inc. Design: Homeowner And Hardscapes Inc. Project Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Year Completed: 2013 Case: 005 - Barkman - Winnepeg




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