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Retaining Walls

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > House & Garden > Retaining Walls


See also: Structural Engineer, Brick and Stone Masons and Landscape and Garden Design
Oct 2007

I am looking for a reliable, resonably priced person to redo a retaining wall that is currently in need of replacing. I have checked in the achives and everything is a bit out dated. I live in Lafayette. Thanks in advance for your recommendations. Carole


I would recommend calling Mircea Ilie (Mircea Ilie Construction, General Contractor) at (510) 459-5502 or 575-5434 (see unsolicited recommendation further down on this page). Anushka
I can recommend my landscaper, Jose, to you. He does retaining walls and also sod and sprinklers, and all things landscaping. He's reasonably priced and does really nice work. He has experience in so many areas and always has great suggestions on how to make things work for you. You can reach Jose at 510.233.9261. -Happy Yard I wanted to spread the word about Double A Paving2. We hired them to build a significant block retaining wall in our back yard and they did a terrific job. They did excellent work, were competitively priced, on time, etc. The owner, Aidan McNally, is super-nice and has a phenomenal crew. I have done a lot of work on my home and have never posted a positive unsolicited review but this guy is worth it! erin
Jan 2007

I need to have a 3 ft wooden retaining wall and fence built in front of my house in Montclair. I do not want to pay a full contractor to do it -- I do not have that kind of money, and after all, he would pocket half the money and sub the job out. I would like to hire a reputable crew (probably Mexican or Central American) who can do this work. Can anyone recommend a person or crew who can take on this sort of project? rogert


Ignacio Medina and his hard-working crew built a gorgeous stacked-stone retaining wall in my back garden, about 2 1/2 feet tall and 20 feet wide. I was going for a cement wall and for just about $1200, they created a thing of beauty that adds to the landscape. Ignacio is at 510-292-6429. Lauren
May 2005

I'd like to put in my 2 cents here in response to the frequent inquiries I see by people looking for someone to build them an "inexpensive retaining wall".

Any structure that is actually a retaining wall is either: a) going to cost a good chunk of change, or b) not going to last very long and could cause damage to property as it fails. Choice b) is equivalent to tossing your money down the toilet. Actually, a) and b) are not mutually exclusive- I've seen plenty of supposed "retaining walls" that cost the homeowner plenty of money to have built, and then failed within a few short years.

A retaining wall holds back soil, that for several months of the year is wet soil, and here, is most commonly heavy clay soil. Any "load" that a retaining wall carries has to be engineered into its design- this includes all the weight uphill of the wall, often including an uphill neighbor's house.

Any retaining wall over 3' high has to legally be reviewed and 'wet-stamped' by a civil or structural engineer, and installed under permit. Skipping the permit is very very unwise. It provides you with objective third-party review of your plan and oversight of the construction process.

To protect your investment and your property, please don't cut corners when it comes to retaining walls! They are as critical as your house foundation. Don't let any builder try to talk you out of proper permitting telling you that the permit just costs money- it is in fact a very cheap way to hire what amounts to an outside consultant for your project, and any respectable builder who really knows what they are doing will be just fine with that.

You don't always get what you pay for- in this case you can spend a lot and not get what you thought you paid for at all. But the wall will likely hold up just long enough for an irresponsible builder to slip away out of sight. Cecelia


May 2004

We are looking for someone to replace/augment a four foot high very long retaining wall that has limited access. There was only one recommendation listed and it was two years old. We'd appreciate any recommendations of workers who could do this with or without permits. Thanks.


We had a very similar problem on our property with a retaining wall that was falling down. Our realtor recommended MW Construction (510-336-1725). They put in a replacement wall that included drainage system for a pretty reasonable price.
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