Upfront disclosure: The wall is mine and I am not in the "industry." I purchased this house several months ago in northern Westchester County, NY. We are embarking upon numerous renovations, but wish to attack the probably 15 year old R.R. Tie two tiered retaining wall surrounding the inground pool area. Here are a few pictures: The wall runs on two sides of the pool, for at least 80 linear feet, with a maximum height of 8 feet or so, at the top of the second tier. We are going to be ripping down the old deck and relocating the main deck outside the pool area, although still wrapping back around to utilize the existing entry door to the house. I am open to either engineered stone or cement w/ stain and stencil, although am nervous about the look of concrete if not done well. I also understand that in the Northeast especially, the concrete is prone to stress cracks, etc. I had a rep. from Northeast Mesa Block come out this morning who will give me a price for "design & build" as well as just design & materials. Can any of you experts give me opinions on materials and cost and do any of you service my area (or can recommend someone who does) and would perhaps like to bid the job? Is concrete typically cheaper or more expensive, assuming I want to "jazz" the concrete up a bit? Finally, Northeast Mesa will have their engineer prepare the plans (for a fee of course). If I dont use them, do many of the contractors typically have a structural engineer who can fill this need or must I retain one independently ? Thanks.