Spotlight: River Edge

Written by Barkman Concrete Published on January 31st, 2014


When the Small family purchased a riverfront lot near Winnipeg, Manitoba, they knew they would eventually have to deal with the steep slope separating the house from the river. “The bank was just wild and wooded. I always had a concept that I wanted to do something tiered rather than keeping the slope,” explained homeowner Rob Small.

The grade change from the house to the river bank was 11-12 vertical feet over a 30-40 ft. 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.”

Completing the family’s vision required 3 components: tiered walls, a staircase, and the lower patio. The family used Rosetta Outcropping Walls, Irregular Steps, Grand Flagstone Slabs, and the Belvedere Fire Pit Kit to create a tiered landscape that blends beautifully with a historic stone fireplace and nearby waterfall.

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

The Tiered 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,” Doug Loeppky, owner of Hardscapes, Inc. 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%.”

Rosetta Outcropping Walls feature 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 Walls 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 Steps, 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 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 Roman Pavers 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 Fire Pit coordinated beautifully with the natural stone textures and colours of the other Rosetta products in this landscape. The fire pit ring, blocks, and caps arrived at a site on one pallet, resulting in fast installation and no waste.

The Outcome 

Rob Small couldn’t be happier with his back yard now. “It turned out beautifully,” he said. What could we do for your next project?

Owner: The Small Family Contractor: Hardscapes Inc. Design: Homeowner And Hardscapes Inc. Project Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Year Completed: 2013


“Spot Light” is a column that highlights some of the best landscaping projects in North America. Know of a great spot that uses barkman? Contact us on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or email

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