Case studies

Erosion & shoreline protection | Roadside protection & infrastructure | Landscaping & terracing | Heavy-duty gravity or composite walls | Stairs & seating | Noise & blast barriers | Roads & parking hard lawn | Specialist projects

Erosion control and shoreline protection

  1. Riverbank rehabilitation and protection

    Vintage project, ten years of service: Planners of the Liesbeek Trail were faced with serious erosion problems alongside this river, confined in a narrow corridor through the densely built-up suburb of Newlands…more

  2. Stormwater control and riverbed erosion control

    Considerably increased storm water run-off from 148 new houses, paved yards, driveways and roads had to be catered for. Initially a large earth dam was built, fairly high up in the system to function as reservoir, storm water detention dam and focal point in the meticulously planned, environmentally sound landscaping network throughout the estate. The dam spillways, as well as all stretches of the stream that would be subject to soil erosion, were lined with Terrafix 100 blocks…more

  3. Detention ponds with Terraforce

    Rivers and streams that are scoured by storm water runoff in remote areas of South Africa may develop into wild and beautiful landscapes. But when storm waters degrade streams in densely populated urban areas, the results are likely to be deteriorated neighborhood aesthetics and polluted recreational areas. Karin Johns investigates why, as more and more open land gives way to residential use, the management of storm water runoff becomes crucial for the protection of human and environmental health…more

  4. Lake site rehabilitation

    Terraforce is used here as a remedial measure for a degraded wetland located on privately owned land within the city bowl below Table mountain. It has now been transformed into a mixed indigenous environment featuring a bird sanctuary with a 500m² pond…more

  5. Terraforce for shoreline and riverbank protection

    The L range blocks, such as the L12 and L18 are also ideally suited for any type of erosion control measures, as are the newer Terrafix and Terracrete blocks…more

  6. Coal mine erosion control

    Terrafix is used to stabilise a “box cut” incline shaft for coal mining access at the Total Coal Forzando Project near Bethal in Mpumalanga…more

  7. Urban upgrading in Swaziland

    The suburbs around Mbabane, on steeply sloping and easily erodable topography in a high rainfall area, pose some unique challenges to the local town planners. To prevent further serious damage to the environment, remedial measures were carried out using manual labour as much as possible. Segmented concrete retaining and hard lawn blocks, supplied by Milito Precast of Manzini, were found to be ideal for providing the following…more

  8. Erosion control for sloping bank profiles

    Two projects that highlight the efficiency of Terrafix blocks as erosion control measures, as well as design guidelines related to them…more

  9. Riverbed erosion control

    A tributary of the Braamfontein Spruit runs through the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens into the Emmarentia Dam. At the top end of the Botanical Gardens the stream was suffering considerable erosion and flooding damage. It was therefore necessary to line the stream and improve its geometry to eliminate erosion and limit flooding. The area is extremely environmentally sensitive and the decision was made to use Terraforce and Terrafix blocks because of their easy plantability…more


Roadside and infrastructure up

  1. Shopping mall roadside installation

    A brand new shopping complex on the R44 between thriving Stellenbosch and Somerset West in the Western Cape required some innovative earth retaining solutions, both cost effective and compatible with aesthetic/environmental demands, within the constraints dictated by site and viability considerations…more

  2. Dual carriageway support

    Esperance is a small town situated near the southern most tip of Western Australia and, following the development of the Ravensthorpe Nickel Mine (RNO), traffic to and from the Port of Esperance was expected to increase radically, especially on Hughes Road, the safest option for a large fleet of trucks to gain access to the mine. With this in mind it was essential to widen the road to accommodate this escalation of traffic…more

  3. Roadside slope stabilisation

    A cut slope at risk of collapsing is secured with a combination of a near vertical gabion toe wall up to 2,5m high at the base of the cut and a 35° Terrafix-covered slope above, topped by a concrete-lined cut-off drain…more


Landscaping and terracing up

  1. Palm Jumeirah, nearing completion

    A low, terraced wall in Dubai, Palm Jumeirah nearing completion…more

  2. Introducing Terralite

    The Terralite block is a versatile, hollow core, interlocking concrete unit – its small size means that it goes around sharp or wide convex and concave curves with ease. It also merges seamlessly from a vertical to an inclined wall and can be used to create steps by reversing the block and changing the texture…more

  3. More Terralite

    Examples of landscapes with Terralite…more

  4. Mountain retreat – landscaping a garden

    Back in 2003, when Bob and Lynne purchased a neglected piece of mountain land about 1.5 hours from Cape Town, they took on a challenge that had for years scared off potential investors. The problems they encountered included steeply sloping, wattle-infested gullies, lack of potable or irrigation water and no level building platform…more

  5. Environmental aesthetics

    Environmental aesthetics are not just concerned with the “outward” appearance of human environments. Aesthetic considerations include moral judgments of the functionality and purpose of any man-made environment. One can argue that the landscapes created by modern agriculture are visually pleasing, yet if such landscapes do not fulfill their intended purpose of providing nourishment to society or if workers tending to the land are exploited, then instead of a positive aesthetic response to well-functioning landscapes, the appropriate response will be dismay at a massively dysfunctional system – no matter if visual or economical appreciation of such landscapes was possible…more

  6. Waterwise plants for your retaining wall

    Terraforce has recently completed work on a comprehensive guide to South Africa’s indigenous plants, especially those that require little watering and are adapted to our harsh climatic conditions. Developed and researched in collaboration with Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens – especially Ernst van Jaarsveld, well known horticulturalist and author of gardening books – the guide aims to give the reader an easy-to-use introduction to the indigenous plants suitable for growing on plant-supportive retaining walls and erosion control measures around South Africa…more


Heavy-duty gravity or composite installations up

  1. Shopping mall roadside installation

    A brand new shopping complex on the R44 between thriving Stellenbosch and Somerset West in the Western Cape required some innovative earth retaining solutions, both cost effective and compatible with aesthetic/environmental demands, within the constraints dictated by site and viability considerations…more

  2. Driveway support

    A driveway newly cut into a relatively stable shale slope made these retaining walls necessary…more

  3. Aiming high with composite CRB walls

    As an engineered structure, concrete block retaining walls offer extensive flexibility at a range of heights and in varied soil conditions when designed by experts in this complex field. The question about how high these structures can grow is relatively governed by design engineers with the expertise to push beyond conventional boundaries…more

  4. Supporting a pool

    This installation at Sunset Close, Llandudno, Western Cape, was completed by Decorton, a Cape Town-based specialist contractor for segmental retaining wall installations, who was appointed to install the supporting structure for this pool, situated high up on solid granite rock outcrops…more

  5. Retaining space with Terraforce

    Kanonberg Lifestyle Estate, developed by Atterbury, a national property development group, is Cape Town’s first fully integrated lifestyle residential estate and modeled on Atterbury’s successful Woodlands Lifestyle Estate in Pretoria. It consists of 31 hectares situated at the foothills of Cape Town’s Tygerberg, flanked by the exclusive Welgedacht Estate to the south and the Tygerberg Nature Reserve to the west…more  

  6. Glamorous upgrade for prestigious wine estate 

    Decorton (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town-based retaining wall contractor specializing in Terraforce products, was appointed sub-contractor for all retaining walls during extensive up-grade work on L’Ormarins, a prestigious wine estate in the Western Cape…more


Stairs and seating  up

  1. Stairs and seating with Terraforce blocks

    The 4×4 multi and L range blocks are suited to the construction of stairs and seating for arenas and amphiteathers. The 4×4 multi step block is particularly aimed at providing efficient and economical steps in conjunction with the original retaining blocks…more

  2. 4×4 multi step block creates stunning seating arenas

    Initially, the 4×4 step block was intended for low retaining walls and smaller steps, but soon became very popular not only for stairway access, but also to provide comfortable, practical stairs and seating arrangements at leisure amenities and school sport facilities. The blocks can be stacked, interlocking at the corners to form gentle curves and varying wall angles, but turning the unit on its side to create steps has made it so successful at creating small to medium-sized seating arrangements…more


Noise and blast barriers  up

  1. Noise reduction for residential flats in Cape Town

    A Terraforce retaining wall effectively reduces noise pollution at Stanhope Road in Cape Town…more

  2. Blast barriers to protect vulnerable buildings

    Two similar installations were recently completed by Decorton Retaining. Both utilise Terraforce gravity walls at a steep angle facing the buildings to be protected, backed with an earth berm, level top and sloping away at 45º. The barriers are between 2m and 5m high and serve to protect two vulnerable buildings, while at the same time resulting in significantly reduced noise levels…more


Roads and hard parking lawn up

  1. Rural road is paved with Terracrete blocks

    Terracrete is a versatile eco-surface hardlawn paving block, introduced to the market by Terraforce in 2002. The units can be laid in different patterns and may be used with or without ground anchors for the lining of riverbanks and other areas subjects to soil erosion. The paving of grassed roads and parking areas, as well as the stabilising of steep embankments such as bridge abutments, can be undertaken with these versatile blocks…more

  2. Pioneering permeable paving

    One of the fastest growing approaches to green site development in the last year or two has been permeable paving, yet contrary to popular belief it seems the approach has been around for years, with the local market reluctant to recognise the obvious potential. Karin Johns, freelance journalist, interviews a major stakeholder in the industry to find out more…more

  3. Creating permeable surfaces with Terracrete

    The days of slapping concrete and asphalt down to make a paved trail walkway or driveway may be numbered. Commercial properties, public spaces and residential developments have upped the standard on what they require from a paved surface. Land restrictions, storm water management and other environmental regulations have turned the growing housing market and other land developers to seek solutions that can address these issues. Karin Johns investigates whether permeable interlocking concrete pavers could form part of the solution…more


Specialist projects up

  1. Die Kelders Cave dig site is stabilised and preserved using L18 blocks

    Die Kelders Cave, also known as Klipgat Cave, just outside of De Kelders in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, is one of the most important cultural assets in the Western Cape. The remains found in the cave date back to between 65 000 and 85 000 years, at a time when the ocean was at a distance of around 5km from the cave. Such early remains have been found in only three South African sites and in the Middle East…more

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