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May 2024

The Cost of Building a Retaining Wall

retaining wall

A retaining wall can add depth to a landscape and create a focal point. It can also protect yard areas from erosion or serve as a slope barrier.

Homeowners with good DIY skills can make a 3-foot-tall retaining wall using dry stacked stone or concrete blocks. However, taller walls require a professional who understands engineering considerations. Check out Vantaoutdoors for more information.

Retaining walls are not cheap to build, and there are many factors that affect the overall cost. These include material costs, excavation costs, labor rates, permit fees, site preparation and materials delivery charges. In addition to these costs, the size and location of the wall can also influence its price. Moreover, the cost of installing a retaining wall may include drainage and foundation work. This can drive up the total cost significantly.

The construction method of your retaining wall will also determine its final cost. There are several options, including poured concrete, stone, and concrete blocks. Concrete retaining walls are typically the most expensive, but they are durable and long-lasting. They can be designed in a variety of ways to meet the specific needs of your property. Some homeowners choose to add a walkway or stairs to their retaining wall, which can add an additional expense.

You should know the purpose of your retaining wall before deciding on a design. You can use a retaining wall to create an extra garden space or to protect your property from flooding and erosion. They can also be used to change the lay of your land, allowing you to make more usable space and adding a scenic view. A retaining wall can be used to reduce the slope of your yard, and you can plant trees or shrubs on its sides.

Another important factor in retaining wall construction is the type of soil. Some types of soil require more extensive and expensive engineering and drainage, which can increase the overall cost of the project. In addition, rocky or difficult-to-access areas may require more manual labor and larger equipment, driving up the cost of the installation.

Some of the most common retaining wall materials include vinyl, concrete, and gabion and stone. Each of these has different pricing per square foot, and each is suitable for different purposes. You should consider the cost of each option and choose a contractor who can provide you with the best price.

A retaining wall can help stabilize the earth on hillsides where growing plants to control erosion is impractical. It can also prevent homes from sliding downhill during earthquakes by decreasing the slope of the land. It can be a good investment for your home, especially if you live downhill from soil fault lines.


When it comes to the stability of a retaining wall, there are several factors that come into play. A major factor is the design and construction of the retaining wall. A retaining wall should be designed by a professional engineer. It should also be constructed according to industry standards. This will help to ensure that the retaining walls are of uniform weight, dimensional tolerances, and strength. It is also important to use high-quality materials for the retaining walls. Poor quality materials can lead to cracking and other forms of damage. In addition, a well-constructed retaining wall should be built with weep vents for drainage and control joints to relieve stress.

A retaining wall can be made from many different types of materials, including concrete blocks, stone, and masonry. The choice of material depends on the needs and budget of the homeowner. However, the most important consideration is the stability of the wall. A retaining wall must be strong enough to resist lateral earth pressure, which is the force that tends to push soil toward the wall. This force is greater with a taller wall, so the retaining wall must be able to withstand greater amounts of pressure.

In addition to lateral earth pressure, a retaining wall must be able to resist sliding and overturning forces. These forces may be caused by a variety of factors, including the angle of repose of the engineering fill and the height of the wall. In order to withstand these forces, a retaining wall should be anchored at the base and at the crown. It should also include buttresses, which are rectangular projections at the front of the wall designed to counteract lateral forces.

Retaining walls are used in a variety of applications, from creating sunken patios to providing support for landscaping features. These structures are essential for stabilizing sloped areas, but they can also deteriorate over time due to improper installation or lack of maintenance. This can pose a safety risk and cause structural failure. In addition, a poorly-constructed retaining wall can fail in other ways, such as by not draining properly or by failing to support the earth behind it.


When choosing a material for your retaining wall, you need to consider its durability. A well-built concrete block retaining wall can last decades and comes in a variety of colors and decorative motifs. It is easy to maintain and can be adapted for various landscaping styles. However, it may not be suitable for large slopes that require a high level of stability.

The durability of a retaining wall also depends on how it is built. In addition to the type of material used, drainage plays a crucial role. Rain, snow and ice create a great deal of moisture and can easily damage a retaining wall if the drainage system is not set up properly. This includes having enough gutters, runoff areas and French drains in place.

Wood retaining walls are often susceptible to termites and water damage, so they require regular preservatives and waterproofing. They are also prone to rot and aren’t a good choice for taller walls. They are best for short walls that don’t need to resist a lot of pressure.

On the other hand, a stone retaining wall is long-lasting and will add an aesthetic feature to your landscape. It can also be made to suit any style of architecture. However, it can be expensive and requires specialized skills to build.

If you’re thinking of building a retaining wall, make sure to check out local regulations in your area before getting started. Some municipalities have specific rules about how tall you can build a retaining wall and where it can be located.

You should also research the different types of retaining walls and which materials are most durable. For example, geogrid walls are more durable than gravity walls but require more structural support to keep them stable. You can also use a cantilever design or tie-backs that extend deep into the earth and connect to buried anchors called “dead men” for extra strength.

While it’s possible to build a 3-foot-tall concrete block retaining wall with average DIY skills, you should hire a professional to construct anything taller. The experts know how to build a strong and stable retaining wall, and they can also ensure that it meets all the required engineering specifications.


Retaining walls can be a beautiful addition to your property. They can define spaces, prevent erosion, and give your garden more depth. However, like any other structure, retaining walls require maintenance. This means addressing problems before they get worse, and that can be expensive. If you don’t keep your retaining wall in good condition, it will eventually fail, which can be dangerous for anyone who uses the area it creates or for vehicles passing over it.

Typically, retaining walls are made of stone, brick, cinder blocks or concrete. They are designed to hold back soil that would otherwise cave in or slump over a slope or incline. These walls are designed to be permanent structures, but they can deteriorate over time due to seasonal changes and a lack of maintenance. A deteriorating retaining wall can be dangerous and must be repaired or replaced. Fortunately, Square One offers coverage for these structures under the Detached Structures, Fences and Landscaping coverage.

The cost of retaining wall construction depends on the materials used and the size of the wall. Larger walls require more material than smaller ones, so they will be more costly. Additionally, taller walls must be built with an engineer’s supervision to ensure safety and integrity. Generally, it is best to hire an experienced landscaping contractor for this type of project.

While retaining walls are designed to last for up to 100 years, they will need regular maintenance to continue to function properly. In order to prevent water damage, it is important to regularly inspect the walls and remove any rocks or debris that may block drainage pipes. This will help ensure that water can freely drain from the site behind the retaining wall and reduce the pressure on it.

During an inspection, it is also important to check the structural conditions of the retaining wall. A DOB inspector will examine the wall for signs of damage, such as bulging or displaced segments. If these defects are identified, the DOB will notify the owner of the unsafe conditions. The owner must then take immediate action to correct the problem and secure public safety.