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Some stone and brick masons really love homeowners who try to build their own tall retaining walls, because after those ill-conceived do-it-yourself walls bulge, crack, split open, crumble, and fall the masons get to come and fix everything. But at late stage of the game masons will typically charge at least double their normal price, because repairing a broken wall is a much more challenging job than it is to build one correctly in the first place.
So if you are planning a retaining wall that is more than knee-high, you’re probably better off hiring a professional. There are many factors that have to be considered when building a wall that is more than a few courses, stones, or bricks tall. You have to compensate for the wall’s instability by first digging a footer or foundation that is the proper depth and width. Then you have to construct the wall so that the pull of gravity actually makes it sturdier over time – rather than making it weaker.
Drainage is another big consideration, and so is the force of freezing and thawing in the mortar joints between the stones are bricks. You can risk it yourself, but it will likely make you regret your decision. It’s cheaper, easier, and more comforting as a homeowner to simply turn the task over to a professional wall builder or mason.