The Great Retaining Wall of Minnesota

This residential community in Plymouth, MN needed new retaining walls.

Several of walls were failing, and it was becoming a safety issue for the community. The homeowners’ association called on Southview Design to repair/rebuild glacial boulder and modular block walls.

Our commercial design/build teams worked together to execute a plan for completing the project safely and on time. Six crews have rotated through the project. Using a CAT excavator with a clam and two loaders, they carefully took one wall after another apart and rebuilt them. Lifting and placing the boulders with an excavator requires significant skill. Each boulder has a unique shape and must be placed like pieces of a puzzle to remain in place for many years to come. The walls need to be solid because, in some cases, damage to homes was a concern if it was not done right.

There are 12 boulder walls and 8 modular walls. Of the boulder walls, the tallest is 14’ and the shortest is 6’. The modular block walls range from 7’ in height to 2’. The longest wall – a boulder wall – is 300LF and the shortest is 25’. The largest boulders are 72” in diameter.

Southview Design started the project in early March 2020 and is expected to finish in August.

Key Design Features

12 boulder walls and 8 modular block walls

Length of longest wall: 300 linear feet

Tallest wall: 14 feet

Largest boulders: 6 feet in diameter

7 months to complete

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