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Surface Shop Natural Stone Veneer Manufacturer
Surface Shop Natural Stone Veneer Manufacturer

Browse 10 Stunning Natural Stone Retaining Wall Ideas With Our Gallery

Surface Shop Natural Stone Veneer products offer an ideal solution for your stone retaining wall needs. As a veneer, Surface Shop products are adhered directly to most retaining walls making installation and transformation of exterior spaces quick and easy. Browse our galleries and learn more below about what makes Surface Shop Natural Stone Veneer products the perfect choice for your next retaining wall project.

Aeon Blue Grey Irregular Stone Veneer Used for Architectural Retaining Wall in front of modern residence
Aeon TerraForm™ Used in a stunning array of architectural retaining walls

Natural Stone Veneer vs Dry Stacked Stone Retaining Walls

Some of the earliest stone structures are retaining walls built hundreds of years ago where people would collect the stones from a plot of land and stack them into walls to establish a border and outline their property.  These dry stacked stone retaining walls are built without mortar or adhesive to hold the stones together. And while there’s certainly a case to be made for the historical way of doing things, the 21st century ushered in advances in how natural stone can be quarried, split, and fabricated, allowing the creation of stone veneer products.  These products, including all of the products that Surface Shop specializes in, are thin, generally less than 2” thick, and often much thinner, and are designed to be installed as the outer skin or decorative facing on the wall.

Today’s natural stone veneer products offer the benefit of a uniform and polished appearance as compared to a historical dry stack stone retaining wall which will have lots of gaps and cracks where the stones come together and overall create more of a rugged, rustic look. And while we have to acknowledge the longevity of dry stacked stone retaining walls, natural stone veneer products are designed to combine the best part of the dry stacked stone technique, the stone itself, and allow it to be made and installed in an easier to use format while still creating installations that will stand the test of time.

Why Choose Stone Veneer for Retaining Walls

When it comes to retaining walls, also sometimes referred to as site walls, natural stone really embodies the timeless look of what most people associate with this type of application. Natural Stone Veneer offers a diverse range of colors, sizes, shapes and textures to customize a stone veneer retaining wall into the exact aesthetic for the landscape.

Natural Stone Veneer products are meant to be the outer layer of a broader retaining wall structure that gets adhered to the built in place structure, typically made from concrete or other masonry type based construction. Surface Shop makes natural stone veneer products in a wide range of stones including granite, limestone, slate, quartzite, sandstone, lavastone, and basalt meaning we’re sure to have the perfect color stone for your landscape.

While the classic and timeless beauty of a stacked stone retaining wall is not to be understated, the durability of natural stone veneer makes it a can’t miss choice for retaining wall projects. Often subject to harsh conditions like landscaping maintenance, irrigation overspray, and even just the simple process of exposure to the elements year after year, natural stone products offer superior durability over concrete and other manmade products that can fade in color and degrade in appearance over time.

Grey Basalt LYNIA Residential Interior Courtyward Wall
Grey Basalt LYNIA Used on an Interior Residential Courtyard Retaining Wall

Stone Panels vs Loose Stone - Which is Better?

For a Stacked Stone Retaining Wall project the biggest choice to make when it comes to natural stone veneer is choosing between a Stone Panel System and Loose Stone.  Surface Shop offers both types of products, because each type has its own benefits that are worth understanding.

What are Stone Panels?

Stone Panels are meant to be a DIY friendly installation system where the manufacturer of the panel has already done the hard work for you by assembling individual stones into easy to install units, often 6” x 24” sections, that get installed like a groutless wall tile. Stone Panel systems make an excellent choice for a retaining wall project because they are easy to install, making them very cost effective, and come in a wide range of colors and style options, so you can find the exact product to fit into your landscape design scheme.

What is Loose Stone Veneer?

Loose Stone Veneer, such as our TerraForm™, Ashlar or DryStack Ledgestone Series offer a more bespoke look to a stone installation as these products are reliant on skilled masons to hand lay each individual piece when crafting an installation. Additional design choices are made with loose stone veneer installations such as if they should be fit in a tight drystack look or a more spaced style with mortar joints. The veneer aspect of these products still allows for a relatively quick and easy installation since the individual pieces are light and can be adhered using setting materials.

Types of Natural Retaining Wall Stone Veneer

Surface Shop has several different types of stone that can be used for retaining walls, both in Panel System Forms and Loose Stone Veneer.  All of these products have their own advantages and unique characteristics of color, texture, size, and durability.

This stunning texture found on this Whitsunday Ashlar retaining wall highlights everything that is awesome about limestone, and particularly about Whitsunday. The earthy tones ranging from light beige, to cream, to even a little gray hit all the marks when it comes to a neutral color range and the natural split face texture adds loads of visual interest to this retaining wall with an iron fence.

Kalahari TerraForm™ is the perfect base to this stone retaining wall containing a lush garden. As a granite stone, Kalahari has excellent durability and hardness making it an excellent choice for the harsh environmental conditions of a retaining wall. The speckled texture and colors of Kalahari, or the veining of other Granite products, are inherently unique and part of the beauty of a natural stone product.

Golden Harvest Ashlar Seat Wall

Color Variations and Resistance of Quartzite

Quartzite is a hard and durable metamorphic rock formed from sandstone under high pressure and heat. Created this way, quartzite often exhibits vibrant colors ranging from white and gray to warmer natural earth tones as we see with this short Golden Harvest retaining wall.  Quartzite is a tough stone with a high resistance to scratching and staining, making it a great choice for a retaining wall application.

Slate is a common stone in the building materials world, and is comprised of fine-grained metamorphic rock that tends to come off in layers that split off like thin sheets. Not all Slates should be used in exterior applications, but the Slates that can, like our Ochre Rock Panel are ideal for creating a rustic and textured look encompassing a range of color tones including black, gray, brown, green, blue, yellow and orange.

Warm Earthy Tones of Sandstone

Sandstone, including our Bozeman Run Drystack Ledgestone has both the characteristic warm earthy tones that Sandstone is known for, as well as a gritty, granular surface texture. Accent colors including shades of pink, red, and yellow add to the overall mix of this product. A nice aspect of Sandstone is that while it does offer a naturally rustic appearance, it is also easy to cut and shape, making it versatile for various applications.

Surface Shop Grey Basalt Lynia Interlocking Tiles create a much more modern vibe to any retaining wall project.  The basalt stone itself is ideal for the application as its hard volcanic composition resists weathering and erosion, making it an exceptionally durable product. All the Basalt products Surface Shop offers come in a dark gray to back color range making them ideal for more modern and contemporary designs.

Stone Veneer Retaining Wall FAQs

Questions & Answers

Stone veneer is an excellent choice to clad a retaining wall project providing a natural and textured appearance. Consider the type of stone veneer product, such as panel systems versus loose veneer, when researching natural stone products for a retaining wall application.

There are lots of different stone veneer products that will result in a fantastic retaining wall project.  Consider the color, scale, texture, and installation type when looking at stone veneers and find the perfect fit for your design ambitions and aesthetic.

Natural stone retaining walls should be maintained like any other exterior natural stone veneer installation. After installation the stone should be sealed and then routinely re-sealed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.  Routine cleaning or more targeted removal of specific stains should generally be handled using non acidic cleaning agents so as to not damage the surface of the stone.  For more information on installation and post installation maintenance of a stone veneer application visit our Installation Resources page.

A Natural Stone Retaining wall should last more than our lifetimes if properly installed and maintained.  Most failures in retaining wall applications have to do with either the construction or installation of the wall itself.  Natural stone veneer cladding like the Surface Shop makes, is designed to be the outer skin on a stable retaining wall system and will last for decades assuming its properly maintained.

Surface Shops recommends sealing any exterior stone installation with a quality water based penetrating sealer that is designed to soak into the stone and seal the stone from the inside out creating a strong, long lasting seal. Exterior applications will need re-sealed every so often depending on the type of sealer and stone used, and the exposure of the specific installation itself. Generally speaking when water starts to immediately soak into the face of the stone as opposed to beading up and rolling off it’s likely time for the stone to be sealed again.

Most natural stone experts will advise to keep your natural stone veneer just above grade, usually by 1" - 3" and then use soft materials like mulch to grade up to your application. This keeps the veneer from taking on too much moisture from the earth below it, and it also protects it from a naturally occurring process called "Ground shuck," which simply refers to the movement of the earth up and down against your application which occurs during freeze/thaw cycles and seasons.

Commonly Requested Resources from Surface Shop

Our Best-Selling Natural Stone Veneer Panels

Whatever style retaining wall you are looking to achieve, Surface Shop has the natural stone veneer products and industry knowledge to make your vision a reality.

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