Retaining wall requirements - Do I need one?


Well-known member
May 28, 2019
Miami, FL
I've met with a few PB around my area, considered doing OB, but I simply don't have the time, confidence and knowledge to go OB. We interviewed a few PB two companies came out to my properties to look at my yard and neither mentioned a retaining wall. The one PB (highly rated around our area) we liked gave me a reasonable quote, however, the salesman I was dealing with unfortunately lost his wife and is taking time off, so he gave my contact to another salesman. The new guy came out and said "you definitely need a retaining wall" and that's very expensive. I told him the previous person I was dealing with said otherwise, but he's like, yeaaaa no, you need to get me an elevation survey (which is like $400) + the wall is going to be another $4k or more. The pool we're trying to build is only 12 x 28 straight rectangle.

My question, is there a specific requirement that specifies when a retaining wall is needed? My backyard is pitched towards a lake, but I don't think its enough a pitch to require a wall.

Here is a pic of my backyard, my property goes all the out to the light colored cable box. The difference in elavation from my wall to the cable box might be a foot and a half.



TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
Morris Cnty NJ
Where is the pool going? Is it in the space between screened in patio and the lake? If so you prob need a wall if you want decking on screen or lake side. May be able to grade and feather it out but depends on your side property line. Anybody you know have a laser lever or builders transit? You can make a good enough topo in less than half hour over your existing survey and know for sure what you can do all depends on your decking