Differences between decorative walls and retaining concrete walls

Understanding differences between decorative and retaining concrete walls

A retaining wall can be decorative, but a decorative wall cannot be a retaining wall. Here's why! ⬇️

When it comes to landscaping a garden or securing a structure, choosing the right type of concrete wall is crucial. Decorative walls and retaining concrete walls serve different purposes and offer distinct advantages. Discover the main differences between these two solutions.

Decorative concrete walls

Decorative walls are primarily used for aesthetics and to delineate spaces. Here are some key features:

  • Main Use: Creating borders, planters, rest areas, or design elements in gardens and yards.
  • Recommended Products: At Patio Drummond, we offer decorative walls such as Moderno, Rustico, and Urbania.
  • Advantages: Easy installation, variety of styles and colors, enhances the visual appeal of the landscape.
  • Installation: These walls often use stackable wall blocks, allowing for mortarless installation for a clean, modern look.

Retaining concrete walls

Retaining walls, on the other hand, have a structural function. They hold back soil and prevent erosion in sloped areas.

  • Main Use: Supporting sloped terrains, creating terraces, preventing landslides.
  • Recommended Products: Our solutions include Backfill Blocks and Alto Blocks.
  • Advantages: Strength, durability, ability to support heavy loads.
  • Installation: More complex than decorative walls, requiring a solid foundation and sometimes additional reinforcements to ensure stability.

Choosing the right product for your project

The key to choosing between a decorative wall and a retaining wall is to clearly define your needs. If your goal is to enhance your outdoor space with aesthetic elements, decorative walls like Moderno, Rustico, or Urbania are ideal. For projects requiring strong structural support, our Slope blocks or Alto blocks are more appropriate.

In summary

Decorative walls and retaining concrete walls play different but essential roles in outdoor landscaping. To explore our full range of decorative walls, visit the walls section of our website. For information or a quote on ALTO retaining wall blocks, contact us directly.

See what the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ) says about retaining walls : article.

Comité organisateur soirée bénéfice Patio Drummond

CPSC receives $30,000 - Les Petits Bonheurs

On August 19th, Patio Drummond was the stage for a memorable evening where music, original costumes, and generosity came together for an exceptional cause. Initiated by Yvan Lemaire, President of Patio Drummond, and his friends Alain Guilbeault, Mario Lambert, André Hébert, and Sylvain Lemaire, this evening marked the perfect alliance between entertainment and charity.

A sum that will go a long way for Les Petits Bonheurs

The highlight of the show? An amount of $31,074 was raised in support of the mission of the Center for Social Pediatrics (CPSC) - Les Petits Bonheurs. For this, the Lemaire family will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to be surrounded by a strong network that knows how to mobilize.

Comité organisateur soirée bénéfice Patio DrummondFrom left to right: Kimberly Carey-Traversy, Alisson Lemaire, Yvan Lemaire, Philippe Girardin, Mario Lambert, Sylvie Heroux, André Hébert, Guylaine Mathieu, Alain Guilbeault, Lise Therrien, Linda Laroche, Mélanie Éthier, and Sylvain Lemaire. (Photo: Valérie Hébert)

Geneviève Lemay, General Manager of CPSC, was present at the event. "This memorable evening, with people of heart, will allow us to accompany new children in social pediatrics and enhance professional services such as art therapy, psychoeducation, and occupational therapy. Our ultimate goal is for every child living in situations of vulnerability to develop to their full potential, not only being cared for but also well-equipped and well-supported to enter the adult world at 18.

This gesture, initiated by the Lemaire family and their friends, of giving their evening for the cause of children in need, demonstrates how children are the greatest natural wealth of a community and how they want it to be more equitable and healthy. It is an act of unquestionable and immeasurable generosity."

A Disco Group and local partners

Starring the famous Boogie Wonder Band, the event, which has been in preparation since 2022, was all the more special thanks to the collaboration of several local partners such as Eventec, Chapiteau Centre du Québec, IGA, Entre 2 TailGates, Génératrice Drummond, Justine St-Martin (TVA), Kimberly C. Traversy, and Alisson Lemaire. Dedicated volunteers and photographer Valérie Hébert also played a key role in the success of the event.

Boogie Wonder Band lit up the stage with two 60-minute sets, while three roller girls added a more than funky touch to the atmosphere. All of this was accompanied by a disco photobooth, a silent auction, and special cocktails created by Martin Ruel's company, Distillerie 29 octobre.

Alisson Lemaire, the event organizer and HR Director at Patio Drummond, said this: "We are more than fortunate to be surrounded by people with a heart who want to associate themselves with initiatives like this one. I sincerely thank all our partners for this magnificent event."

The Patio team is proud to make a difference in the Drummondville community by getting involved with CPSC - Les Petits Bonheurs. ❤️

Maxi-Base or Deck Block? To each his own!

We help you understand better

When it comes to starting work on a new patio or terrace, various methods and options are available to solidify a structure. Foundations literally support all the weight of your construction. It's important to choose the right product that suits your needs. Today, we're talking about Maxi-Base and Deck Block.

Maxi-Base or Deck Block: What Makes a Good Product for a Patio and Terrace?

Deck Block 

Their use is very simple: the blocks are simply placed on the ground, and the patio is built on them. They are the most affordable option in the short term and are available in most hardware stores. The Patio Drummond patio block allows you to install joists vertically as well as 4'' and 6'' posts. It optimizes the stability and safety of your landscaping without giving you a headache. It's the master of "quick and well-done"!

Although these are less expensive than Maxi-Base, you may need to reinvest in the structure of your patio in the long term. Since the blocks are on the surface of the ground, they will be subjected to various weather conditions, such as freezing and thawing, which could cause your patio to shift due to ground movement.

Maxi-Base ou Deck Block


While they require a bit more thought in terms of installation, Maxi-Base is an interesting option for building a patio or terrace. It is a more expensive option when compared to Patio Block, but Maxi-Base is designed to adapt to ground movements.

Maxi-Base can be buried in the ground (or not). That's why we call it our "surface foundation." But what makes it really interesting is its adjustable head. The concrete base is accompanied by an L-shaped head that will support the load and can be adjusted as needed. For any project requiring permanent support that may shift due to freezing and thawing, the adjustable head ensures constant stability.

Oh, and a single Maxi-Base can support up to 2800 lbs. A hybrid between the screw pile and the deck block, the Maxi-Base surface base can support a shed, carport, or even a deck.

Maxi-Base ou Deck Block

Is Maxi-Base more complex to use than a Deck Block?

Not really! The only complexity lies in the fact that you need to dig a hole if you want to bury the Maxi-Base concrete base.

Installation Methods

Maxi-Base ou Deck Block

💡In any case, no matter how deep you dig, 3'' of 0-3/4 rock under the base will be sufficient.

We made a video, in case you're interested: a video that shows how to use Maxi-Base. 🎥

If we don't bury Maxi-Base, what sets it apart from a Deck Block?

The adjustable head. The adjustable head allows for 7'' of adjustments to counteract the effects of ground movements each winter and spring. You can adjust the support of your structure according to your needs.

🚨Attention! The adjustable head does not prevent your structure from moving. It allows you to adjust your construction based on freezing and thawing. By adjusting it, your structure will remain level and work much less, ensuring its durability and safety.

The wider base. The wider base of the concrete base ensures even more stability for your construction.

Once the product is selected, how can I ensure the durability of my patio?

Whether you choose Maxi-Base or Deck Block as a solution to support your structure, if it is not well built, it will not last.

We're not telling you anything new, but in Quebec, our soils are often saturated with water in the spring. They undergo several episodes of freezing and thawing that can easily damage a terrace.

We do not specialize in patio and/or terrace construction. That's why we strongly recommend that you seek the services of construction professionals and plan with them for a few tricks like: spacing between boards, outdoor nails and screws, space to allow moisture and organic residues to pass through, a height that is at least 10 cm lower than your patio door, a sufficient number of beams and joists, etc.

A solution to rotting wood boards, while we're at it?

Patio Drummond manufactures a structural concrete slab that replaces the wood boards on your deck. The Belvedere concrete slab is reinforced with rebar and is installed directly on the joists of your wooden deck. Belvedere slabs do not need maintenance. They do not require sanding (read sanding equipment), staining (read staining equipment), or painting (read painting equipment).

Maxi-Base ou Deck Block

Enjoy all your summers for the next 10, 20, and 30 years without worrying about your deck!

Discover the Belvedere slab

Le béton pour l'aménagement paysager

Concrete for landscaping in 2023: it's on trend!

Why choose concrete for your backyard landscaping?

Durability and versatility. These are the two key arguments to remember when talking about concrete! The use of concrete in landscaping is becoming increasingly popular, and here are some reasons why this trend should continue in 2023:

  • Concrete for landscaping can be used in various forms and textures, making it an ideal choice for walkways, patios, and even retaining walls.
  • It is easy to maintain and withstands weather conditions well, making it perfect for regions with extreme weather - like Quebec. 🥶
  • The options for color and finish are endless, allowing you to personalize the look of your landscaping.
  • Concrete, when well-made, is also an eco-friendly choice as it can be made from recycled materials and can be recycled itself at the end of its life.

In summary, choosing concrete to personalize your backyard or even your driveway entrance will allow you to create a space that reflects your style and will stand the test of time with elegance.

Should concrete products be preferred over Wood or plastic products for landscaping?

Choosing concrete for your landscaping can offer many advantages over wood or plastic products. Here are 3 reasons why you should opt for concrete products:

  • Durability: Concrete products are more resistant to weather and wear and tear than wood or plastic products. They can also resist weed growth and harmful insects.
  • Aesthetics: Concrete products are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing you to customize your landscaping to your tastes and needs. Additionally, concrete products can mimic the look of wood, stone, or brick while offering superior durability.
  • Ease of Maintenance: Concrete products require minimal maintenance compared to wood or plastic products. They don't rot, fade, and don't require painting or staining to remain in good condition. 🪄

In the end, choosing concrete products for your landscaping can offer you a durable, aesthetic, and easy-to-maintain solution.

What can you creat with concrete products?

Buckle up, here we go 🗻

With concrete slabs: Patio, walkway, terrace, stairs, pool surround, spa surround, and garden paths (and more).

With concrete pavers: Driveway (with vehicle traffic), children's play area, walkway, pool surround, and spa surround (and more).

With concrete curbs: Driveway delineation, garden or flower bed borders, tree surrounds (and more).

With concrete walls: Retaining wall, outdoor kitchen, flower bed borders (and more)!

You can create a variety of spaces using concrete products, such as patios, walkways, retaining walls, terraces, stairs, fountains, garden benches, garden borders, and much more.

Concrete products offer great durability and a variety of styles to meet your aesthetic and functional needs. Whether for residential or commercial construction, concrete products can be a cost-effective and reliable option for many projects.

Style trends for summer 2023

Trends are leaning towards the use of varied colors and textures, as well as creative shapes and patterns to add visual interest to outdoor spaces.

These trends reflect a shift towards more personalized and unique outdoor spaces. Homeowners are looking to express their own style through their landscaping and choice of outdoor furniture - and we understand!

In addition to the use of creative colors and patterns, it allows for the creation of spaces that represent them even more. Vertical gardens and green walls are also very popular to bring a touch of nature to restricted urban spaces. In summary, current trends encourage individuality and creativity in outdoor space design. 💛

For more detailed information about the concrete products we offer, our landscaping section of the website is the perfect place to find everything you need! You can compare the features and benefits of each product to make an informed decision, view photos, and get a precise idea of the product you want to obtain.

See you soon! 👋

The story of a concrete product

The common man might think that talking about concrete isn't very interesting. Let us convince you otherwise (not that you're part of the common folk, you might be a die-hard concrete enthusiast, but we never know!).

Back to our concrete! (Uh, sheeps)

dalles béton rustica et forestaThe story of a concrete product begins with a touch of magic - YES, a blend of passion and typical Patio Drummond sparkling madness - and a specific need.

Chapter 1 : Ideation

We start by envisioning the product and try to describe it as best as we can to our designers. The initial spark that drives us to create a new product can come from a market need or a specific request from a customer. Once the initial discussion is done, we begin the drawing and 3D planning of the product.

Chapter 2 : Design

Once we have received the plans, we begin designing the mold in which the product will be cast. Molds can be made from various materials used together or individually, such as high-performance plastic, rubber, wood, or metal. Several parameters help us determine which material to use: the size of the finished products, the total quantity to be manufactured, the machine or department that will cast the piece, and the complexity of the pieces.

One of the most important steps in mold design is planning for demolding. We have to think about everything: negative angles, edges of the piece, size for handling, how the reinforcement fits into the piece, if there's finishing involved, and so on!

This is the stage where we scratch our heads or stroke our beards with a thoughtful air. The mold requires ALL our attention. There's no room for error when manufacturing multiple products with the same mold!

Once the mold is made, the testing phase begins: it undergoes greasing, and we validate its compliance. This means we cast several pieces and subject them to all sorts of tests. Like Père Fouras in Fort Boyard, we can be quite sneaky and thorough. If the mold doesn't allow us to create a product that meets our expectations, we start over until we have the perfect product.

Depending on what we have to produce, we may consult an engineer to ensure, for example, that the concrete pieces produced are compliant, safe, and won't fall on anyone's head - it has never happened, but we'd rather not take any chances!

Chapter 3 : Production

Our favorite chapter! This is when we start to see the fruit of our labor. We organize the work to be as efficient, ergonomic, and fast as possible. Depending on the pieces being manufactured, we clean and grease the mold. We then place the reinforcement if it's part of the item. An inspection may also take place at this stage depending on the nature of the piece and the project (we don't systematically inspect every product because if we take our 18x18 Pavé slab, with over 10,000 slabs per day, we wouldn't be very efficient!) - However, we inspect balconies that are installed on multi-story buildings several times in the production process.

The concrete placement follows and will require more or less finishing and vibration depending on the type of concrete used for the product (we don't vibrate our products for fun; it evens things out and removes air bubbles). Here, we work with three types of concrete. We're pretty proud of that: having three concrete specialties on a single production plan is unique! Depending on the type of concrete, the placement process is very variable; dry concrete is worked a bit like dough for making cookies with a cookie cutter, while hydraulic concrete (more "wet") is poured into a mold, somewhat like a birthday cake!

After the concrete placement, we let it cure - this can be done in different environments depending on the nature of the product. The curing time (hardening of the concrete) can vary from one product to another, but we usually calculate one day.

Fun fact, during curing, concrete gives off a lot of heat and humidity due to the energy released by the chemical reaction involved in the concrete powder mix (concrete returns all the energy that was needed to make the powder! Long live magic! Or... chemistry!)

Chapter : Finishing

Over time, we have become experts in the manufacture of concrete products. It's true; Patio Drummond is like the Merlin of manufacturers - afflicted with madness but endowed with immense knowledge! Sometimes, a magician is required to make minor touch-ups or repairs to ensure that we deliver a turnkey product to our customers!

Finishing also means: special requests. At this stage, we take into consideration the needs and requests of our customers, such as sandblasting or the application of a high-performance sealer. We can also proceed with the polishing of certain pieces or the installation of reflective strips to provide additional visibility. As we say, "Sky is the limit."

Chapter 5 : Packaging and Identification

We try to use as little packaging as possible. Packaging a 16' x 12' balcony would require A LOT of wrapping paper. Our slabs are stacked on reusable wooden pallets and then wrapped in plastic film for safe transport. All our products have identification that withstands outdoor storage, allowing us to load and deliver orders quickly!

Storage and handling after production are analyzed and efficiently managed by our specialized handlers. We move large quantities of stock every day: small and large products, the whole gang! We're fortunate to have several impressive machines (lifts, overhead cranes, etc.) for all types of projects - and let's not forget, a touch of magic!

Chapter 6 : Transportation

Transporting concrete products isn't always easy, but we make deliveries all over Quebec every day, and several carriers come to our administrative center to pick up various products. Sometimes we face challenges related to the dimensions of the pieces to be delivered. This is when we call in escort vehicles, flashing lights, and other measures. To comply with certain safety rules on construction sites, our customers have cranes and machinery for unloading and installing our pieces.

Chapter 7 : Retailers

Our customer base is very diverse, and although many of our products end up in hardware stores to be distributed to consumers, where they live happily ever after (Maybe not until the end of time, but concrete is very, very durable, so still for a very long time!), we also deliver to construction sites, municipalities, or agricultural sites!

The End! So, that was the (brief) story of a concrete product at Patio Drummond!

The biggest concrete project EVER

It's been a busy year for Patio Drummond! We celebrated our 50th anniversary, moved, demolished our administrative center and part of our factory, and started building. We did all this in the midst of a global pandemic. We did all this while continuing to manufacture what we do best: concrete!
In fact, we ended the year on a high note by producing a new part for a customer, but not just any part.

12,000 lbs of Concrete!

What we produced is a bench that serves as both a charging station for various electrical devices and a support for solar panels. This bench weighs a total of 12,000 lbs (!!!)

What does this imply?

Roughly, once the mold is created, the piece goes through the following steps, all in the same day: greasing and validating the mold's conformity, preparing and positioning the reinforcement and hardware, inspection before pouring by our quality department, and finally, pouring and placing the concrete. We let it cure like this and demold it the next day! Then comes the finishing and surface treatment. In the end, it's like making a big cake!

Setting all this up took us less than a day - it's not nothing!

Innovations and Continuous Improvements

When we produce a piece for the first time, it's always a bit intimidating. We must be cautious and make careful notes of the manufacturing process to be able to make modifications in the future. For now, our biggest challenge is caused by the imposing weight of the piece. We will have to make adjustments regarding demolding. Each completed bench allows us to improve the process!

For the next order, Patio Drummond will create a more suitable tool designed exclusively for demolding this impressive piece.

It's a privilege to always have new and custom projects because it pushes us to be always on the move and adapt quickly!

At Patio Drummond, we always say we have an unparalleled capacity to adapt. It's true, when a customer comes to us with a need, we make sure to respond quickly, even if it means turning on a dime.

Regardless of the complexity of the project, we manage to create something aesthetic that meets the customer's expectations. Fortunately, we can always rely on our experienced team! Thanks to our concrete experts (Yvan, Tommy, Sylvie, Magloire, Juan Carlo, Placido, and Denis) who worked on this project!

Precast concrete balconies - Pomerleau

In recent weeks, Patio Drummond has delivered a total of 10,500 square feet of precast concrete balconies (21 different types of balconies) to the village of Cap-aux-Meules, approximately 1,273 km from Drummondville. This project required a total of 13 transports, covering 16,549 km of delivery, and it was made possible thanks to CTMA (Cooperative of Maritime and Air Transport) - our balconies had to take the ferry to be delivered directly to the construction site! (We may be a bit crazy because transporting over 100 balconies on a ferry requires careful planning. Fortunately, we had excellent support!)

Upon the arrival of the balconies at the construction site, the general contractor of the project and one of their installation teams quickly set up the 108 balconies. The impressive project took 7 days of installation by a team of 4 men, assisted by a crane for handling the balconies.

A very positive experience, courteous service, and always available when needed. The installation was easy, efficient, and fast. A very high-quality product as well. We will certainly work with Patio Drummond for future projects. Sébastien Couillard, Project Manager - Pomerleau Company


Some balconies in the project have "skirts" that allow contractors to pass their ventilation ducts underneath the balconies. They then close everything up without affecting the aesthetic appearance of the project. This is why you can see HSS (Hollow Structural Sections) tubes protruding directly from the steel structure where the balconies are placed. It's a process that requires less installation time since the manipulation and placement of columns are not necessary. The balcony is mechanically fixed below the forks!

Why Trust the Expertise of Patio Drummond?

Pomerleau, the company in charge of the project, used our precast concrete balconies with a focus on durability: our balconies are reinforced with a steel structure and cast at our factory, making them an advantageous choice even when located thousands of kilometers away! - No need to bring in raw materials or large teams to pour concrete on-site!

In addition to being cast in a factory with controlled temperature conditions, our balconies were custom designed for the project by our engineers. This process is crucial at Patio Drummond as it ensures the strength of the balconies during handling and installation. A precast balcony can last up to 100 years (depending on usage). YES, up to 100 years!

For your large-scale projects, trust Patio Drummond!

Martins Industries: Interior straicase

Here's a beautiful interior staircase project for a private company in the tire industry. Once again, our precast concrete stair treads fit in with any décor.
Here are a few photos of the office staircase:


Precast concrete outdoor furniture

Precast concrete outdoor furniture

Patio Drummond is proud to participate in the creation of relaxing spaces for public parks and schools. In this photo, you can see our precast concrete benches, tables and litter garbage can. Our products are sturdy, maintenance-free and have an above-average lifespan, helping to reduce our ecological footprint!

Precast concrete interior staircases

Precast concrete interior staircases - Cowansville Library

Precast concrete interior staircases

Here's one of our new projects for the Cowansville Library - Phase 1. Made-to-measure prefabricated concrete steps on steel stringers. The project has not yet been finalized, but the design of the precast concrete staircases gives the library a modern look. Avant-garde, durable and easy to install - that's our customers' motto. 📖

Learn more about our staircases.