Private Residence

The transformation provides multiple spaces and includes lights lining the stairs, a fire pit and plenty of planting areas

Key Features

Wall Area

1,100 square feet


​Clear Lake, Iowa


Rhino Materials
Des Moines, Iowa

Wall Design Engineer

Country Landscapes, Inc.
Clear Lake, Iowa

Wall Contractor

​Country Landscapes, Inc.
Clear Lake, Iowa

Private Residence Before
Private Residence After

The Challenge

​A baby boomer couple with a large, lake-loving extended family needed to improve the functionality and safety of their property overlooking beautiful Clear Lake in north central Iowa. The site, a treacherous, steep hill, comprised rotting timber walls and steps that were slippery from years of algae buildup. There was little space to excavate for a badly needed new retaining wall system, and limited access for hauling materials to the compact space.

The Solution

Country Landscapes in Clear Lake, Iowa, proposed a complete landscape plan using the Anchorplex™ retaining wall system, incorporating Diamond Pro Stone Cut® products. The Anchorplex system was chosen to tackle many of the site and design challenges posed by the small lot.

The Anchorplex™ system is designed for sites just like this one. A retaining wall built with Anchor™ products, with structural backfill placed immediately behind the block, this system eliminates the need for the construction of a mechanically stabilized earth zone behind the wall face and requires less excavation and compaction than is usually necessary in a geogrid-reinforced retaining wall.

Following demolition of the timber walls, the installation crew immediately built the first retaining wall along the shoreline. That provided a staging area for the rest of the project because the steep slope afforded little space for crew and equipment. Friendly neighbors to the east of the home allowed use of their yard to bring in materials and equipment. Installation of the Anchorplex system quickly became efficient, with a skid-steer loader hauling a bucket of backfill to the property edge and the excavator delivering it to the retaining wall under construction.

The Diamond Pro Stone Cut® product fit the homeowners’ expectations and the designer’s goals nicely, and the installation crew liked working with it. “Country Landscapes traditionally uses native limestone for retaining walls,” said Mike Entner, the estimator who sold the project, “but on such a challenging site, limestone wouldn’t have been a structurally stable choice and would have been too costly. The Diamond Pro Stone Cut system is becoming a go-to product for us. The system has three pieces, which our crews install easily. The multiple pieces create an impressive, tall wall.” Entner noted that the color, chosen to contrast with the Iowa limestone steps, received compliments from the homeowners and the designer.

The Results

According to the homeowners, the landscape overhaul of the picturesque lakeside property not only transformed the site from treacherous to safe for family members of all ages, but improved their everyday enjoyment of it. Lights built into the Diamond Pro Stone Cut retaining wall create stunning illuminations at night, a fire pit surrounded by natural stone benches has become a favorite gathering spot, and using the Anchorplex system avoided costly excavation and saved a beloved oak tree on the property. The project was a winner for Country Landscapes, too. They’ve sold two similar jobs on Clear Lake in addition to recommending the Anchorplex system on four new jobs where retaining walls are needed in tight spaces.

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