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Earth retaining for luxury estate in South Africa

KINGSHILL Development, The Keep and New Land Developments started construction in 2021 on ten exclusive 650-800 m2 homes in Bishopscourt, Western Cape.

Immediately they were faced with steep, heavily contoured ground, necessitating extensive earth retaining walls. The Terraforce retaining system was specified as the best solution, offering a block that is unique in its versatility, both in application and elevation. 

Each of the luxury homes – featuring tennis courts, lap pools, steam rooms, temperature-controlled wine cellars and multi-car garages – required raised building platforms to create enough space for large front and backyards, to accommodate these amenities. 

The resulting cut slopes were stabilised with Terraforce L12 blocks in charcoal, with the round face of the block facing outwards. Selecting the round face finish is what allowed space for topsoil, and ultimately, the addition of ten different indigenous ground creepers, planted meticulously by Alan Dawson Gardens.

Says Jeremy Leighton, Decorton Retaining Walls: “In total, 30 000 blocks were installed by us on site, our first project with the Terraforce® L12 block in charcoal and a round face finish. There were some complications with storm water damage after the extremely strong storms this winter. As specified by Terrasafe, surface storm water channels are a crucial part of the retaining wall installation, to inhibit water ingress. This prevents heavy rainfall damaging the retaining walls.”

Adds Leighton: “The design parameters by Denis Belter, Gadomski Consulting Engineers, stipulated that each of the cut slopes was to be retained with three two metre Terraforce retaining walls at 70-degree angles, except for the walls running along the back boundary of the Estate, and where mature trees had to be circumnavigated. The bottom third of each terraced wall is concrete filled and some of the larger walls are geogrid reinforced. Each wall is fitted with subsoil drainage and sand drainage layers running along the back of the cut embankments.”

For more than 40 years, Terraforce, Cape Town based pre-cast concrete manufacturer, specialising in modular, hollow core concrete blocks, has maintained a strong foothold in the South African Concrete Retaining Walls market, while the past decade has seen steady expansion into the international playing field.

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