How Much Does It Cost to Build a Retaining Wall?

by Team HomeServe
Building a retaining wall

Retaining Wall Costs at a Glance

  • Total cost: $5,000, average; $3,000-$8,000, range
  • Labor costs: $50-$60 per hour; $25 per square foot
  • Landscape block retaining wall: $6-$30 per square foot
  • Cinder block retaining wall: $10-$12 per square foot
  • Concrete block retaining wall: $20-$30 per square foot
  • Poured concrete retaining wall: $30-$40 per square foot
  • Natural stone retaining wall: $27-$35 per square foot
  • Wood retaining wall: $16-$28 per square foot

Retaining walls are a force against gravity. They support soil laterally, keeping it at two different levels on either side of the wall. Retaining walls also keep soil in place on a slope to prevent erosion.

This May Also Interest You: How to Build a Retaining Wall Good for Showin’ and Erosion

Retaining walls can be part of construction work for directing drainage away from a building, or they might be used in a garden to create usable beds of soil for planting. They are also commonly found on the sides of roads or driveways to keep the path clear and dry. But how much does a retaining wall cost? Let's dive in and find out.

How Much Does a 3-Foot Retaining Wall Cost?

According to Inch Calculator, the average cost of a retaining wall is around $5,000, though the total cost can fall anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000, depending on the height of the wall. For a standard 3-foot retaining wall, $5,000 is a good estimate. But if you're not performing the task yourself, you'll need to factor in additional labor costs.

What’s the Cheapest Retaining Wall?

A major variable in the total cost of your retaining wall is the material you choose. Here's a look at the different materials you can use to build a retaining wall and how much they cost:

  • The average landscape block retaining wall cost ranges from $6 to $30 per square foot, depending on the type of blocks, according to
  • A cinder block retaining wall costs around $10 to $12 per square foot.
  • The average concrete retaining wall costs between $20 to $30 per square foot for interlocking blocks, or $30 to $40 per square foot for poured concrete.
  • A natural stone retaining wall costs between $27 and $35 per square foot.
  • Wood retaining walls costs $16 to $28 per square foot.

It's important to remember that these are material costs. Don’t take these costs at face value unless you're performing the labor yourself. If you're hiring someone, there will be additional costs to consider of roughly $50 to $60 per hour, or $25 per square foot. Although landscape blocks are potentially the cheapest option per square foot, they often need to be laid by a professional to ensure the finished product doesn't look misaligned or awkward.

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What’s the Easiest Retaining Wall to Build?

If you're seeking the easiest method for a DIY retaining wall, consider opting for a cinder block model. Stacking the concrete blocks 3 feet high creates a sturdy, affordable way to build a lasting retaining wall on your property. Another easy option is to use landscaping timbers and build your retaining wall in 3-foot by 4-foot sections. This option doesn't have the same longevity as masonry blocks, but in a pinch, it's a quick solution.

Does a Retaining Wall Boost Home Value?

A retaining wall is a significant asset to your property. In addition to improving the layout of your terrain and preventing drainage issues, it can also boost the value of your home. A retaining wall enhances the aesthetic of your property while simultaneously serving a useful function.

To maximize the financial benefits of building a retaining wall, choose building materials that are both sturdy and visually appealing. Stone veneer is a beautiful modern option, as is a brick retaining wall. Take time to landscape the area around the retaining wall after completion to create a polished look.

How Long Do Retaining Walls Last?

The lifespan of your retaining wall depends on the quality of the build. If you've invested in durable materials and properly waterproofed the structure, a retaining wall can last 20 years or more. Timber can last for 40 years, and there's no limit on how long cinder blocks or concrete walls can last when they're built well.

If you're not an experienced builder or landscaper yourself, the best way to ensure longevity is to work with a contractor. They can advise on where water is most likely to pool so you get the most out of your retaining wall.

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.