Building Spectacular Backyards

Retaining Walls Make
Room for Pools
Landscape Newsletter Issue 1

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retaining wall with terraces around pool


retaining walls with stairs and railing

A Backyard Oasis In New Jersey

Excerpt from Landscape Newsletter Issue #1



A pool can be a welcoming focal point for any home; appealing to the entire family. For water-lovers and sun-worshippers of all ages, the backyard pool is a private vacation get-away, without having to leave home. This spectacular pool and landscape project in Middletown, New Jersey, reclaimed unusable land and now provides a beautiful gathering spot for the entire family.

The backyard had a steep elevation, rendering it unusable. The homeowners wanted to reclaim the unused space and build a recreation area for the whole family, including placing a pool in the center of the hillside. A plan was developed to extend the house into the surrounding landscape using a terraced approach, greatly increasing the total square footage available for recreation and entertainment.

retaining wall with curve

"Using Allan Block products made it not only beautiful to look at, but easy to accomplish." - Jeff Hatoff



In order to reclaim the steep backyard hillside, the design included multi-tier retaining walls, accommodating an elevation drop of more than 20 ft (6.1 m). Designed and built by Jeffrey Hatoff, Top Seed Landscaping and Gardening Company, Inc. in Metuchen, New Jersey, the project used AB Europa Collection blocks for the tiered-walls, creating an elegant backyard surround. Clayton Block Co., located in Edison, New Jersey, provided the structural design and engineering support, ensuring the soundness of the construction and design. Curved steps flowing down from the home into the pool area required the use of AB Dover and AB Palermo blocks in a tight radius. Cinnamon-colored stone was used to flatter the house and create an elegant setting.

Because of the steep elevation and multi-tiered wall design, a standard, gravity wall approach was not possible. Geogrids - flexible, high-tensile, synthetic mesh - were used to reinforce the soil behind the walls. Installation was fast; the retaining walls were completed in one month. The finished project is stunning. No longer a plain, unused hillside, this inviting area is now a private oasis for family and friends.