Flagstone Patio- building codes in Los Angeles- retaining wall??

Our contractor insisted on a cement retaining wall for our flagstone patio. This puts the "patio" now a deck up 10 inches from the yard (dirt/soil) are there any building codes in Los Angeles City or County that mandate such a wall??? We wanted our flagstone patio to provide water shed and to be at ground level. is that doable? thanks

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