Profile picture for km9
  • km9
  • 128 contributions

Cutting into a backyard hillside and installing a ~8' high retaining wall

A house that I will submit an offer on this evening is limited to a small usable area in the backyard because it has a steep upward sloping hill going up over 100 feet.  Could I simply cut the soil out and install a retaining wall to make the backyard longer?  I know it will have to be more than simply cinder blocks and cement.  I am just wondering if it is legal and easy to obtain a permit to do.  The wall is currently maybe 3 or 4 feet high.
  • December 07 2010 - Santa Clarita
  • 0
    0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

 
 

Answers (9)

Profile picture for the_country_hick
Talk to a mason in your area. They should know how to do this. They should also know how expensive this would be. And it will be pricey.

The problem is that the wall is not just one layer thick. It requires a whole lot of rock to hold back that amount of dirt safely. Then insurance could be a concern. Check with an agent to find out if it is or not.
  • December 07 2010
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for JerodMayer
The possibility of this could be done, however if there is an Home Owners Association you would want to submit to their Architectural Committee and obtain approval for this project before proceeding with any landscape alterations such as this. As for Permits, you will want to check with Local CIty Ordinances to make sure everything is done correctly. Often times, the landscape contractor that you would hire for the job, would handle everything necessary with the city & permits.
  • December 07 2010
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

have you checked with the engineers at the office of Building and Safety at the Los Angeles county office or the City of Santa Clarita? They should be able to give you more information.
  • December 07 2010
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for nwhome.us
Talk to a geotechnical engineer.  They study soil and how to support it.  They will analize the soil characteristics and suggest the kind of weight that you need to support it.  That information is given to a structural engineer who will tell you what kind of retaining wall to construct.
Once you have these two professional licenses on the ine, the local building department shouldn't find it very hard to grant a permit for the construction.
  • December 07 2010
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

You need to talk to a LICENSED contractor, have him go by and ck it out. It will need steel rebar, a french drain for drainage so rain doesn't built up behind the wall + more. You also need to see your CC&Rs of the property to make sure you legally can do that. Some tracts do not allow you to do that even if you own the slope. And of course make sure you own the slope before even considering it.
  • December 07 2010
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for km9
  • km9
  • 128 contributions
Thanks for the replies.  I knew this was a big deal, but didn't realize how much.  I just watched some videos of installation, so I understand a little more.  I will look into the city to see if it is legal.  There has to be a solid answer considering about 25% of the homes in Santa Clarita that I am eying have back yard slopes.
  • December 07 2010
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for cruzfguardado
Did you ever find out how much it would cost? I'm interested in doing the same.
  • September 16 2013
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

You may want to look into a lockable stone, you wouldn't believe the weight they hold and they require no mortar.
Since they stair step as they go back more room is required.
They are used here by the State around commercial properties.
Just look into it.

Many other reg. walls that go over 4ft. is usually done throughterracing back, this process gets what you need done and since it is terraced the overall appearance is more pleasant to look at , plantings and over ground type cover between the two , can make the walls look shorter if not make the top one seem to disappear.
 
To help picture this ...you would be building two walls each 4ft. one holds back the first and there is a flat area (where you can do the plantings...) then the next 4ft. wall starts back 3-4 ft from the first.

Since it is terraced you might even get over some paper problems and extra costs you may have if you submit an 8ft. wall as your plan.
just fyi.
-Joseph-
  • September 17 2013
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for cruzfguardado
Thanks for the great info!!!
  • September 23 2013
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.