Interlocking Bricks Adapt to Ground Movement

Gigantic shifts in our ground is a fact of life in Winnipeg. So, before we build anything here, we have to take it into account.

Two possible strategies

There are two strategies for dealing with inevitable movement of the ground.

  1. Strength: Build a structure so massive and monolithic that it will remain rigid on top of the moving ground without cracking and shifting. Most concrete driveways in Manitoba are an attempt at this strategy. A 6" to 8" thick concrete slab, laced with reinforcing steel bars, will do its best to resist the movement of the ground beneath it. But, we have all seen how well that works! It doesn't take long and there are cracks.

  2. Flexibility: The second strategy is to accept that soil movement will happen and build a structure with the flexibility to move along with it.

The patios and retaining walls that we build employ the second strategy. Concrete pavers and modular retaining walls are flexible systems that can move along with the seasonal changes in the soil moisture content.

How do we do this?

Interlocking brick system

With the construction of a proper foundation we have done what we can to minimize and control the movement of the ground. But unfortunately, we cannot eliminate movement, so for the surface itself, we need to use materials that will accommodate movement.

This is where concrete pavers and modular retaining walls come in. Rather than a single piece of concrete, hundreds of bricks allow for minute movement between units.

It gets better. If concrete pavers functioned completely independently of each other this would already be superior to poured concrete, but the addition of joint sand allows the pavers to act as one large system. When polymeric sand is swept into the spaces between bricks, it creates an interlock between adjacent bricks. Pressure applied to a single brick is transferred to all adjacent pavers.

As an added bonus, this system makes repairs very easy.

It's a great system!

We'd love to make this happen for your landscaping project. Send us an email at to chat about it.

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