Constructing Hillside Retaining Walls in Los Angeles


Whether you are a SoCal resident or a tourist, you will be amazed at how home builders can laugh at topographical challenges. A home will be built in any area that is prime for real estate.

Southern California properties are known for being so beautiful because of this challenge. While slopes are a great addition to the property’s charm, they can make it difficult to use as much space on a small plot. This is often the reason for retaining walls.

Los Angeles Rules for Retaining-Wall Construction

You will quickly discover that there are many rules regarding building retaining wall on Southern California properties by doing a simple internet search.

It can be difficult to read through the municipal documents. You will need a contractor to build retaining walls in Los Angeles property.

A permit is required for any wall that exceeds 4 feet tall, including the blocks below it. An engineer will be required to oversee large wall projects.

Los Angeles: Cost-related Challenges in Retaining Wall Construction

There is usually limited space. Southern California property owners often want to make sure that their homes are as flat as possible, making the most of every square foot. It is not as simple as it seems to add retaining walls and fill in the gaps.

Retaining wall height & length

Los Angeles retaining wall construction costs can be very expensive. It can cost as little as $5000, or more than $50,000 in certain cases. Property owners often look for other ways to manage slopes in their yards.

Los Angeles property owners may be able to lower the cost of retaining walls by making a slight modification. Sometimes, walls don’t need to be as tall as you might think. This is true even if they are built in tiered levels, or with sloped landscape beds next to them.

These are some ballpark prices for retaining walls:

  • Small segmental wall 20 feet in height – stone wall 18ins tall – Best to No So Good Condition – $2,200-2,700
  • 20′ fence wall 6 feet not retaining. $4,300-4,800 (w/ sand stucco finish and no cap).
  • 20′ 3″ retaining dirt – $3.200-3.700 (w/ Sand stucco finish, No Cap)
  • 20′ 3 retaining slope 2 to 1 – $3,500-$4,000 (with sand stucco finish and no cap).
  • 20 8′ retaining 2 – $6,500-$7,000 (w/ Sand stucco finish, No Cap)

Limited Horizontal Space

Space is limited. If you spread yourself too thinly, you could end up on the property of your neighbor or in the street. This is something municipalities will not allow.

Many property owners don’t know what needs to be done beneath a retaining walls. To properly anchor a wall and give it the right footing, you will need to disturb more native soil than you might think.

Access Difficulties

Some areas are difficult to reach. Wall footings must be excavated with the right equipment in order to make them cost-effective. These machines will need space to move around and places to dispose of base material and debris. Los Angeles properties with poor access may have higher retaining wall costs.

Also, steep slopes that lead to the project area can increase costs or make it impossible to complete. If there’s an unsafe slope that must be climbed, it doesn’t matter how much space you have in your backyard.

Existing Soil Structure

We would have X-ray vision if we had it. Once excavation begins, conditions can become extremely rocky. Large boulders can require more equipment, or explosive blasting to get rid of. These soil problems could increase your project’s costs or make it impossible to complete.

Materials for Los Angeles Retaining walls

Southern California has a large number of walls that are made from smaller concrete blocks. There are two main applications.

Masonry Retaining walls

Concrete blocks are used in some projects much the same way a mason would use for the foundation of a home. The materials are laid in a similar way with additional support from rebar.

These walls are often covered with stone veneer in order to match the existing architecture or other elements of landscape design.

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