I'm admittedly just a homeowner, but I thought I'll see if the pros have some advice for me, and there's a potential for someone to make a little bit of money in this, too. I bought a new home (Seacoast, NH) last year which is on a pretty sloped lot. We had some heavy rains after the (late) hydroseeding last fall, and I didn't really get much of a lawn, which made me a hobby landscaper this year -- I admire you guys doing this every day, as it's serious work, but I find it quite enjoyable, too. Anyway, I found lawnsite in my quest to learn about lawns, stumbled upon the hardscaping forum and found a lot of real nice work here. So I decided I want to put in small retaining wall, for one because I like the looks and would like to learn how to do it (always up for something new). To justify the expense and effort, I'm telling myself it should also be helpful in dealing with the erosion problems on the slopes. Now, I'm not much of a promising customer, as, like I said, I'm in it for the experience of doing it myself, and neither could I afford spending a couple of thousand of dollars. In the pic below, the steepest slope is in the front left, about where I put in a couple of blocks just to get a feeling for how it would look (no base, no drainage etc at this time, but I will be doing it right). In order to save expenses, I started to scrape of the existing top soil (will reuse later), and I want to just redistribute the fill (sand with bricks is what I've found so far), not bring in or haul out more stuff. However, I will obviously need the blocks, gravel, base material. If any of the NH guys here are interested in just selling me the materials (+ delivery), I might be up for that (I suppose you get stuff at a discount, so you may make a bit of money without any actual work). And then I have a couple of questions, too, any kind of input would be appreciated. For one, the wall is next to a patch of wooded land which was saved during the construction. However, the builder piled up fill right next to some of the trees to build up the slope, so I suspect they may be doomed anyway. I suppose by removing some of that close fill and then putting in the wall at some distance, I'm at least not going to make the situation worse? 2nd issue, on top of the hill in front of the house is the septic leach field. I'll be pretty far away from it (the wall will go only about 30' back, which is roughly where the field starts, but I'll be at the foot of the slope while the field is obviously in the flat part on top). Just want to make sure I'm not potentially overlooking any issues there? The wall will be maybe 4' high at the highest point (front left), lower in the back, as the terrain (wooded patch) slopes up, so I don't think I have any engineering / grid issues. Does anyone know NH rules on engineering, permits, etc? How do you guys go about designing/estimating height & materials? If it were a straight wall at given height/length, that'd be quite easy, but as I said, I want to keep the net amount of soil/fill the same, and it seems not easy for me to guess at what distance from the wooded patch the wall should be, how high, how to taper it off at the ends or turn it in, etc.? Any tips on that, or is that just what comes with your experience? I'm currently thinking I'll just form the new shape with shovel, wheelbarrow etc until it looks right to me, and then see how tall / long the wall is going to be and order materials accordingly. I'm planning to do basically everything with handtools, which actually seems quite doable, even though it'll take quite a bit of time (but saves on the gym The one thing I'm wondering about is a plate compactor, how necessary is that over handtamping? The problem is, this is going to be a weekend project which will take a while to finish, and renting a compactor a couple of times sounds quite expensive, besides I'm not really quite sure how to haul it -- I assume these things are too heavy to be moved by a single person? Finally, though I should have asked that first, is a wall going to look good there? And is it going to help with the erosion?