A fence I share with my neighbor is falling down. I live on a slope, so a retaining wall is needed because their property is about four feet higher than mine. I've met with a fence specialist, who says the retaining wall should be wood. I've met with a concrete specialist, who says the retaining wall should be concrete. Who can I meet with who will tell me what the best solution is? I've looked around the neighborhood and my neighbors seem pretty split on the types.

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    A fencer does not do retaining walls, usually. A concrete person does concrete. I would look for a landscaper( or a few). Four feet is quite a bit and you want it done well.
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 22:44
  • Wood rots and is slippery when wet. Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 5:11
  • And I'm sure a bricklayer will tell you thet the retaining wall needs to be brick!
    – Simon B
    Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


You actually want a retaining wall expert. Wood and concrete are both valid materials to use, as long as the wall is well built - but I'd expect block or concrete to last longer than wood. Possibly the person who specializes in building retaining walls would also be interested in building the fence, or you could hire it out to a fence builder. At least, tell the person designing the retaining wall where the fence is planned, and they can advise how to best anchor the posts without weakening the wall.

A four foot retaining wall is starting to get into the territory of where it should be an engineered structure. I wouldn't trust someone with the job unless they specialize in retaining walls, or were following plans drawn by an engineer. Dirt is heavy, and retaining walls have to hold a lot of weight. If you have structures or other heavy things built near the top of the wall, that also imposes an additional load. It's easy for a novice to under estimate how strong the wall needs to be.

  • 1
    Great points. I just wanted to mention that there are pre-engineered retaining wall components available. In my region there are pre-cast concrete blocks, more aesthetically pleasing than basic CMU "cinder block," which are designed to be stacked into a retaining wall. They interlock in various was and often have engineering specs available such that a wall up to 4-5 feet can be stacked without requiring site-specific engineering.
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 19:02

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