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4 Popular Retaining Wall Systems

Friday, April 12th, 2013

© Clint Pino, Cornerstone Retaining Walls, Inc.

There are a number of retaining wall systems available on the market today.  Each manufacturer produces its own unique styles, sizes and colors.  However, there are 4 systems that I install more than others.  Their quality & beauty, as well as their ease of installation, make these retaining wall systems a cut above the rest.

The AB Europa® Collection Retaining Wall System

Manufactured by Allan Block, the AB Europa® Collection of retaining wall block is designed to convey an Old World style, replicating the ambiance of an old European village.  During manufacturing, the block is tumbled, which softens the edges & gives it the look of natural stone.  Its rugged, weathered appearance makes it an ideal choice for those preferring a natural or rustic look.

AB Europa® block has a built-in setback & is available in 4 different sizes.  Each size can be used individually or combined to create a number of different patterns (called AB Abbey Blend™ patterns).  They come in 3 different colors:  grey blend, tan blend and red blend.  The colors can also be mixed & matched to add variety & interest.

The AB® Collection Retaining Wall System

With its distinct beveled edges, retaining wall block from the AB Collection captures a classic & timeless look that integrates beautifully into almost any landscape design.   Also manufactured by Allan Block, it comes with a built-in setback & is available in the same sizes & colors as the AB Europa block.

The difference between the AB Europa® block & the AB® Collection block can be found in the edges.   Instead of rough, chiseled edges, AB® Collection block has clearly defined edges that give it a sharp, clean-cut look.  It is ideal for those desiring a more stylish, upscale appearance.

Just as with the AB Europa® Collection, the various sized blocks can be used alone or combined with other sizes to create interesting patterns (called AB Ashlar Blend™ patterns).  Colors can also be mixed.

AB Courtyard Collection™ Retaining Wall System

The AB Courtyard Collection™ is a 2-sided system that is especially manufactured for installing benches, sitting walls and pillars.  It is often integrated into a landscape design as away to enclose a patio area.  This creates a stunning courtyard appearance & also adds boundaries & defining lines to the landscape.

There are 2 styles available.  The AB Courtyard Collection block has clean, classic lines, while the AB Old Country Courtyard Collection block has rugged, weathered lines.  They both come in grey or tan.

Mesa Retaining Wall System

Mesa retaining wall block is a system that works beautifully when the situation calls for a vertical or near-vertical wall.  This is often the case when working in tight spaces.  With no built-in set-back, the wall can be built at a 90 degree angle.   The block comes in just one size & is a very simple, straight-faced block.  Manufactured by Basalite, it is available in 3 different colors.

Choosing a retaining wall system that is best for your situation will depend upon its purpose, the surrounding landscape & your budget.   Many manufacturers also produce pavers that will integrate beautifully with your system.  A supplier or your builder can help you decide which product is right for you.

To see pictures of walls we’ve built using these retaining wall systems or for more information, visit our web site at  To set up an appointment for a free consultation, call Clint at 303-564-4175.