Burnett: New retaining wall product has excited long-time local gardener

Our Okanagan topography, with its rolling hills and sometimes mountainous terrain, has spawned the building of thousands of retaining walls of all shapes and sizes.

The materials used include wood, brick, natural stone and pumice block to name a few.

I remember in the s1960s and ’70s as a young landscaper how I came up with the idea of using untreated plywood cores.

Of course, today none of these works of art have survived.

While retaining wall construction has come a long way since those days, if you look around there are far more walls failing to some degree than solid ones.

There are two basic elements to the longevity and integrity of a retaining wall.

One is the material used for construction, the other is how it has been assembled.

And there is a third element—appearance.

A few weeks ago I was introduced to a new system of building retaububg walls that cover all three of those bases.

Because I was so impressed with it, I am helping the company with their design work.

Stonemakers North is new to Canada but has a proven track record in the U.S.  building retaining walls, free standing walls, patios and even water features.

The secret is a safe liquid additive that makes the cement act like play dough when used, to make all sorts of shapes, just like when we were kids.

This is far from kids stuff, however, because in the end it has double the strength of regular concrete and the realistic rock patterns are something to behold.

Over the next few years, we will see the Stonemakers product represented all up and down the valley helping tame some of the toughest terrain.

Can this 60-year-old still get excited about something new for the landscape industry?

You bet I can! If you want to see what all the excitement is about check out www.stonemakersnorth.com  and give me a call at 250-763-8087 for a free consultation. I’ll even throw in some gardening advice.


This is the perfect time to get in that first planting of peas.

Soak them overnight and cover them with pea inoculant before planting for great results.

Remember, when rototilling the garden, don’t overdo it.

We used to think the fluffier the better when it comes to garden soil.

But now we understand better that it is far better to encourage soil peds, which are the lumps that create air pockets full of life-giving oxygen, than it is to pulverize them into powder.


This Sunday, at 1 p.m., I will team up with Thor Clausen, from Bartlet Tree Services, to present a pruning demonstration at Byland’s Garden Centre

There are still a few seats available in my classes held at the UBC Okanagan campus:

Roses—Saturday, March 26.

Home Landscape design—Saturday, April 2.

Both classes begin at 11 a.m. The rose class is two hours and the landscape design is for three.

For more info or to register call UBC Continuing Studies at 250-807-9289 or go to www.ubc.ca/okanagan/continuingstudies.

Tune in to The Don Burnett Garden Show on AM 1150 News Talk Sports Saturdays from 8 to 10 a.m.


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