Concrete Retaining Wall Construction in Ottawa

Concrete is a good alternative to a traditional block retaining wall and when planned and built properly can last for decades. Concrete retaining walls can be coloured, textured, and accented using concrete stamps or embedded objects to give them a unique look too. In certain situations concrete retaining walls can also cost less to install.

Alan’s Landscaping and Heather’s Gardens (Shade Group for short!) is a family owned and operated landscape design and construction company based out of Ottawa.  We specialize in the design and construction of concrete retaining walls, concrete seat walls, and concrete steps for both residential and commercial property owners.  Whether you need concrete retaining walls to hold back a slope or to separate your garden areas from your lawn areas our team will  be able to help.

Concrete Retaining Wall Footing Size

Depending on how large the wall is and what it's holding back the depth of the footing can be adjusted.  The depth for the base slab should usually be kept at a minimum of two feet.  In a northern climate like Ottawa where we see very cold weather the footing should extend below the frost line.  After viewing your property and the site where you'd like the concrete retaining wall built we can provide you with more detailed information about how the wall should be constructed.

Drainage For Concrete Retaining Walls

Because concrete is impermeable (doesn't allow water through) special considerations must always be made for proper drainage.  This is achieved through using proper course stone for the base of the wall, using a courser backfill behind the wall to allow water to drain more easily, and also by the installation of drains or weepholes in the concrete wall itself.  Because of the nature of poured concrete walls they can be very susceptible to hydrostatic pressure or lateral pressure from the surcharge (weight) behind the wall.  Without proper drainage it's not uncommon for a concrete retaining wall to crack if the pressure behind the wall becomes too great.

Retaining Walls & Building Permits in Ottawa

According to the Ottawa building codes a “retaining wall” means a structure which supports and confines a mass of earth or water where there is a change in ground elevation. Retaining walls that are over 1.2 meters (3.9ft) in height will usually require a building permit. In addition any retaining walls over 1.2 meters (3.9ft) in height must be designed and signed off by a geo-technical and/or structural engineer to ensure the wall is properly constructed for your site conditions and intended purpose (like a surcharge load). This does not account for any covenants that might be on your property.

How Our Retaining Wall Construction Process Works

When building a retaining wall on your property that is designed to hold back tonnes of soil and earth there is very little margin for error. Depending on how large your retaining wall and what purpose it is intended to serve, we may need to work directly with a geotechnical engineer to ensure your wall is built the right way.

  1. We start with our initial consultation.
  2. We determine how many feet of retaining wall you need.
  3. We determine the height of the wall and if a building permit or engineer will be required.
  4. We consult with you on the type of look you'd like the finished project to have (e.g. colour, texture, stamped, etc.).
  5. We’ll provide you with an accurate written estimate for the work.
  6. We’ll get to work on the schedule start-date and build your new retaining wall.
  7. We'll maintain open and transparent lines of communication throughout the project, including daily updates on how things are progressing. We believe communication is important and vital to a succesful project!
  8. The end result will be a beautiful new retaining wall on your property.

The amount of work required to build a retaining wall can vary widely from project to project. The slope of your property, the amount of earth your retaining wall must hold back and the overall accessibility of your property will all contribute to the final cost.

Remember:  Retaining walls that are in excess of 1.2 meters in height (3.9 ft) will require a building permit and must be designed by a geotechnical engineer.  We are more than happy to arrange and organize  more complex projects such as this.

Other Retaining Wall Options

We also provide services related to the installation of armour stone retaining walls and large block retaining walls.

Why Choose Shade Group for Your Retaining Wall Project?

When you choose Shade Group for your project you are partnering with a local business that has been serving the Ottawa area for many years. You can count on your project being completed on time, on budget and with a level of workmanship and attention to detail you won’t find with other contractors.

The Shade Group team is large enough to design and install retaining walls of all sizes but we’re still small enough to give your new retaining wall the specific care and attention it needs to be safe, solid and aesthetically pleasing.

We’ll maintain a safe working environment and we’ll protect your property from any damage while using our machines, the end result is to meet all of your excavation and landscaping goals while leaving minimal trace of our presence. Our business has continued to grow through word-of-mouth from our many happy customers who refer us to friends and family. It’s through our continued commitment to quality and customer satisfaction that we are able to continue doing what we do best!

We believe in providing great service, superb communication and value with every project we complete!

If you’d like an estimate for your project please fill out our contact form and we’ll get right back to you. We strive to respond within 24-48 hours - so if you haven't heard from us - check your junk mail filter!