Private Residence

​The contractor installed a retaining wall that enlarged the yard and saved the builder money by eliminating deep excavation

Key Features


​Parkesburg Knoll, Pennsylvania


​New Holland Concrete
New Holland, Pennsylvania

Wall Design Engineer

​Vintage Landscaping
Paradise, Pennsylvania

Wall Contractor

​Vintage Landscaping
Paradise, Pennsylvania

Private Residence
Private Residence
Private Residence

The Challenge

An empty spec home is a lost sale for builders. It also provides a challenge for the builder and real estate agent to find creative ways to improve the property quickly and economically, so that a prospective buyer will fall in love with the home and purchase it. This was the situation in a new development in Parkesburg Knoll, Pennsylvania. The new homes were perfect on the inside. But the builder had to look no farther than out the back door at the scant 16 feet of usable yard space to understand that it didn’t meet expectations for outdoor living of today’s home buyer. How could a builder give prospective homeowners more yard space on an already developed lot?

The Solution

​The backyards in the development are flanked and bordered by hilly slopes. The builder knew the best way to provide more usable space was to install a retaining wall. But with a 3:1 slope and banks that reached nearly 5 feet in height, the soil excavation and necessary geosynthetic reinforcement made for a time-consuming and costly project.

Vintage Landscape of Paradise, Pennsylvania, was called in to consult on the job. Managing partner David Nissley had recently attended a seminar on a new system developed for tight spaces, called the Anchorplex™ retaining wall system. This system lessens the amount of excavation needed because the Anchor™ product is backed – immediately behind the block – by structural backfill, a widely available, highly porous mixture of clean stone, cement and water.

Nissley recommended the Anchorplex system with Diamond Pro Stone Cut® retaining wall blocks, an attractive wall package for the builder because the Anchorplex system would save him money on labor and equipment. He estimates they excavated 50 percent less soil by using the Anchorplex option compared to a traditional soil cut that’s required for long lengths of geosynthetic reinforcement.

Including the structural backfill, he believes the cost savings were about 25 percent compared to a geosynthetically reinforced retaining wall. Such a wall would have required cutting deep into the bank, excavating, hauling soils, installing geosynthetic reinforcement and compacting backfill. Nissley said that time was the most significant savings as he and his crew completed the 250-square-foot wall in just two days.

The backyard space grew 75 percent from 16 feet to 28 feet, providing the urgently needed canvas on which potential new homeowners could picture a lawn, play equipment or patio. The Diamond Pro Stone Cut retaining wall is an eye-pleasing backdrop for the space, too, with a rough-hewn face texture in a color that harmonizes nicely with the rolling hills found in Chester County.

The Results

​Following the completion of the retaining wall and a carpet of new sod, the house sold quickly. And before the new homeowners could get their lawn mower out, the builder called Nissley back to repeat installation of the Anchorplex retaining wall system in another cramped backyard in the same development.

“Tight sites with little room for excavation or geosynthetic reinforcement are common,” said Nissley. “The Anchorplex system is the perfect solution for residential and commercial developments where every inch of property is used and the necessary retaining wall is nearly hugging the property line."

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