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What Is the Process of Installing Boulder Retaining Walls?

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In many landscapes, the need to retain soil, manage slopes, or create leveled terraces requires the expertise of a contractor familiar with retaining wall construction. Boulder retaining walls have become a popular choice for these purposes. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but when installed correctly, they can stand the test of time. In this article, we will delve deep into the process of installing boulder retaining walls.

Understanding the Preliminary Requirements

installing boulder retaining walls

Permit Acquisition

Before diving into the physical construction of the wall, it’s imperative to determine if a permit is necessary. Typically, any wall that exceeds 4 feet in height requires a permit. However, height isn’t the sole determining factor, and local regulations might vary. Always check with local authorities before commencing the work.

Site Inspection and Equipment Assessment

Once the permit is secured, a thorough site inspection is conducted. This ensures accessibility for equipment and helps contractors choose the right-sized machinery for the task at hand.

Laying the Groundwork

Excavation and Base Boulder Installation

After establishing all the preliminary details and mobilizing the site, the area designated for the retaining wall is excavated. This step is vital for creating a solid foundation for your wall. Following excavation, the base boulder is positioned, providing a steady platform upon which the rest of the boulders will be stacked.

Incorporating Geo-Textile Fabric and Drainage System

To ensure the longevity of the wall and prevent potential damage from water, a geotextile fabric and drainage system are introduced behind the retaining wall. The geotextile fabric acts as a barrier, preventing soil from clogging the drainage system, while the drainage system ensures that excess water has a means of escape, reducing the pressure on the wall.

Boulder Placement

Building a boulder retaining wall isn’t just about stacking heavy stones—there’s an art to it. This stage is where the expertise and finesse of the operator shine. The boulders need to be placed strategically, ensuring stability and aesthetics. Experienced operators will be able to choose and position each boulder so that they fit together seamlessly, almost like pieces of a puzzle.

Finalizing the Wall

Backfilling and Compaction

With the wall in place, the next step involves backfilling. This process consists of filling the space behind the wall with soil or gravel, compacting as you go. Proper compaction is crucial to prevent settling or shifting in the future. Each layer of backfill should be compacted individually to ensure a solid and durable finish.

Admiring the Finished Product

Once all these steps are meticulously followed, what you’re left with is not just a retaining structure but a piece of landscape art. A well-constructed boulder retaining wall blends into its surroundings while serving a functional purpose.


installing boulder retaining walls

Installing a boulder retaining wall is a detailed process that demands expertise at every step. From understanding the local regulations about permits to the artistry involved in placing each boulder, every stage is pivotal to the wall’s overall success and longevity. When considering such an installation, always opt for experienced contractors who can guide you through each step, ensuring a harmonious and lasting addition to your landscape.

If you’re considering installing a boulder retaining wall or have any queries related to the process, don’t hesitate to contact Natural Environments Corporation today. Our team of experts is always here to assist you.




Our landscaping services in Minneapolis St. Paul – Twin Cities include landscape design, retaining walls, boulder retaining walls, stone walls, rip rap, shoreline erosion control, patios, driveways, helical piers and more.


Phone: (763) 544-8002
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