Retaining Walls Fuel Contractor's Growth

Backyard Makeovers

B & D Landscaping jumped on an emerging trend a few years ago and is now building their business around it. Back in 2003 they were contacted by a homeowner who wanted to create more usable space in his backyard. The homeowner wanted a place where he could relax and entertain family and friends. In addition, he wanted natural looking landscape retaining walls that would compliment his home's exterior and increase his property value. He had researched a variety of landscape products and did not like the commercial wall block he had seen in the area but was interested in the Allan Block AB Collection using a patterned wall design.

While B & D Landscaping was an experienced landscape contracting company,they had never installed an AB Ashlar Blend patterned wall, stating "Allan Block definitely has the best quality block and it is the easiest to work with. Although this was our first AB Collection wall project, I was confident the job would go well."

retaining wall

retaining wall with corners.

rretaining wall with stairs

As they moved through the design phase, the project expanded to include retaining walls on the side of the house and along the driveway. B & D helped the homeowners coordinate all the design elements including stairs, planters and a raised patio.

The terraced retaining walls and raised patio in the backyard were installed in the first phase, followed by the large retaining wall behind the house that wrapped around the walkout basement door. The final phase included the retaining wall along the driveway which incorporated a planter and a set of stairs. Total time on the project was about 3 1/2 months. B & D comments on the installation process, stating "when bidding this project, we initially estimated about 20% more time since it was a new product for us.

We quickly learned a few tips and increased our installation rate. The project turned out great. The homeowners are really happy with their new backyard and their referrals have brought us all kinds of new business. We are currently working on another AB retaining wall project that is over 5,000 ft2 (456 m2)."

Landscape contractors that know how to create backyard living areas are in high demand. Building a business on this growing trend and building walls with the beautiful AB Collection, has helped take B & D Landscaping to the next level.

More Than Retaining Walls- Other Great Backyard Makeover Tips

AB Abbey Blend backyard

AB Courtyard Grill

retaining wall AB Ashlar Blend backyard

AB Courtyard screen

Outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and water gardens have become much more popular, making backyards the new “outdoor living area”. Today,the traditional patio no longer makes the grade. Homeowners want an outdoor space that is an oasis for relaxing with family and friends.

With a nation going crazy over "extreme makeovers", it is no surprise that this popular trend has now made it to the backyard. The versatile family of Allan Block products lets you create backyard makeovers that are stunningly beautiful. Turn an unusable slope into a colorful garden, transform a lifeless patio into a charming courtyard or create an outdoor kitchen with a built-in BBQ grill. It is all possible with Allan Block.

Creating outdoor spaces that your residential customers will love takes a few simple steps.


  • Work with the homeowner to define how the space will be used.
  • Create a detailed plan so you can develop an accurate project estimate.
  • Inspect the on-site soils to ensure they are suitable for construction.
  • Consider water management.
  • Verify lot lines and utility locations, and obtain necessary permits.


  • Create privacy in the backyard by designing "rooms" using raised planters and seating walls as borders.
  • Add visual interest by using a range of colors and textures. Match the block to the texture and color of the home and surrounding landscape.
  • Combine the Allan Block Collections to create landscape walls, free standing vertical walls, columns, stairs and seating walls.


Backyard landscape improvements not only create more living space, they are also a good financial investment. See the guide on residental and landscape retaining walls for a complete description of how you can plan, design and build beautiful backyard landscapes.

Excerpt from Landscape Newsletter Issue #9