What Type Of Contractor Builds Retaining Walls?

contractors building a retaining wall on a slope

As you are planning out your backyard improvements you may find yourself with a sloping yard.  Often the solution to a sloping yard can be some simple grading to level it out.  Sometimes though, you need a more drastic solution, you need retaining walls.  Depending on the wall height and where you live you may need the walls to be designed by a structural engineer.  Once you have your walls designed though, who is going to build it?  What type of contractor builds retaining walls?

Retaining Wall Location

The first step with any retaining wall construction is excavation of the wall location.  You need to remove material down to a level below frost in cold climates, and deep enough to reach good bearing soil in non-freezing climates.  Then you need to excavate behind the wall to allow for engineered fill to be placed as backfill to make sure your wall doesn’t fail from water or ice damage.  The excavation of the retaining wall will either be done by a separate excavation contractor or by the mason or landscaper with their own machines.

What Type Of Contractor Builds Retaining Walls Guide

Retaining Wall Types

There are many types of contractors who build retaining walls, and the first place to start is to determine what kind of wall you are going to build.  If you are going to build a boulder retaining wall , these can be built by any number of excavation contractors.  Just don’t expect them to be perfect.  They will have scratches on the boulders from the excavator’s bucket, and the boulders will be set roughly into place.  However, boulder walls can be a great solution for retaining walls you plan to plant heavily or walls you don’t see as they are generally one of the least expensive wall types.

boulder retaining wall in sloping backyard

What Type Of Contractor Builds Retaining Walls With Precast Concrete?

Next would be a precast concrete block retaining wall.  These are modular systems which rely on some basic grading of a flat surface to build the wall on, and proper backfill.  Other than that they pretty much click together like legos.  Masonry contractors, some excavation contractors, and landscapers are usually the ones building these walls.

What Type Of Contractor Builds Retaining Walls With Precast Concrete

What Type Of Contractor Builds Retaining Walls With Poured Concrete?

Next would be a poured concrete retaining wall.  These walls could stay bare concrete, be covered in stucco, or even covered in stone veneer.  The concrete wall would be built by a concrete foundation contractor.  They would form and pour the footing, followed by forming and pouring the wall.  After the concrete is placed, then the backfilling can take place by the excavation contractor. Afterward, the masonry can commence if you are going to be covering the wall with veneer stone.  Ultimately, this is one of the most expensive ways to build a retaining wall. However, it’s also one of the most long lasting and best ways to build a wall.

What Type Of Contractor Builds Retaining Walls With Natural Stone?

What Type Of Contractor Builds Retaining Walls With dry laid stone wall

The final and most expensive (in most cases) way to build a retaining wall is to use a masonry contractor. This type of contractor will build the wall completely out of natural stone.  A dry laid or wet set stone wall is one of the most expensive. This is because of the labor required to complete the wall.  These walls are made completely of natural stone and would be built primarily by masonry contractors. 

The quality of the end product is highly dependent on the amount of time taken by the masons when building the wall, and their experience level.  The highest experience level and the most time taken will yield the best looking masonry in the end.  However, this will also equal the most expensive way to build your retaining walls.

What Type Of Contractor Builds Retaining Walls With wet set stone wall

Summary

What type of contractor builds retaining walls? You can hire an excavator, masonry contractor or landscaper to build your retaining walls. The type of contractor that you hire depends on the type of retaining wall you want to build. In the end, a properly built retaining wall will make your yard more user friendly. It can also create a beautiful visual feature for years to come.