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How Much Does A Retaining Wall Cost?

Typical Range: $3,195 - $8,679

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Retaining Wall Cost

The average cost of building a retaining wall is $5,612. You’ll likely spend between $3,195 and $8,679, but some projects hit $14,000. You'll pay $20 to $60 per square foot or $30 to $150 per linear foot on average, with large, complex builds with high-end materials costing up to $125 per square foot. Materials range from $5 to $50 per square foot on average, with labor adding $50 to $75 per hour.

The final price depends on factors including:

  • The type of material
  • Width, length and height of the wall
  • Reinforcement
  • Decorative finishes
  • Engineering

Retaining walls serve many purposes, from protecting areas of the property from sliding soil to holding foundation in place. You may also need them to add surface area to property boundaries or to preserve existing ground. Since they’re one of the most visible elements of your landscape, you’ll want them to be as beautiful as they are functional.

On This Page:

  1. Retaining Wall Cost Calculator
  2. Cost Per Square Foot
  3. Wood or Timber
  4. Metal
  5. Brick and Rammed Earth
  6. Gabion and Stone
  7. Concrete
  8. Material Prices
  9. Cost of Additions
  10. Estimates by Location
  11. Cost to Replace
  12. Labor Cost
  13. Repair Costs
  14. DIY vs. Hire a Pro
  15. FAQs

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National Average $5,612
Typical Range $3,195 - $8,679
Low End - High End $1,200 - $14,000

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 2,017 HomeAdvisor members in .
TypeTotal Cost Per Square Foot
Concrete$15 - $75
Wood & Timber$15 - $30
Stone$25 - $40
Gabion$5 - $40
Weathering Steel (Corten Steel)$75 - $125
Rammed Earth$15 - $50
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Wood or Timber Retaining Wall Cost

Wooden retaining wall materials average $15 to $30 per square foot. They typically last five to 20 years. They’re a favorite for gardens because of their natural appearance. You can easily find this cost-effective material locally. The downside of using wood is that it is susceptible to rot and water damage. Proper material choice, drainage and waterproofing during installation can make this style last decades.

Railroad Tie Retaining Wall Cost

Railroad tie retaining walls cost $25 to $30 per square foot. Because they’re soaked in creosote, they don’t rot the way untreated wood does. But it’s also toxic to humans, making it a less popular option. Check with your local code enforcement or contractor to see if you’re allowed to use these in your area.

Metal Retaining Wall Cost

Sheet Piling$40 - $60
Corten$75 - $125
I-Beam$40 - $90

Steel Retaining Wall Cost

Steel sheet piling retaining walls cost $40 to $60 per square foot. Untreated steel rusts. Even treated steel eventually corrodes when used in coastal areas. Galvanized steel lasts the longest in wet and salty environments.

Corten Steel (often referred to by brand name COR-TEN®, or weathering steel), costs $75 to $125 per square foot. For retaining walls, it’s the most expensive option available. You can cut 25% to 50% off the cost using a timber or concrete wall faced with a thin sheet of Corten. Surface oxidizes to create a layer of rust, which defends the material from weather and erosion. It doesn't require maintenance and will last a long time. It doesn’t do well submerged or in coastal areas, where it’ll continue to corrode.

I-Beam Retaining Wall Cost

I-beam retaining walls, also called soldier pile, cost $40 to $90 per square foot. One of the more expensive varieties, they’re created using vertical I-beams concreted into holes. Wood slats or precast concrete panels are placed between the steel in the beams' grooves to create the structure.

Brick and Rammed Earth Retaining Walls

Rammed earth retaining walls cost $20 to $30 per square foot. They’re created by compacting earth with a binder into a hardened structure. Modern methods use some cement as a binder and can reach strengths like concrete. Although not used extensively, it’s a more environmentally responsible alternative to brick and concrete.

Compressed earth blocks are different from rammed earth walls in the way that concrete blocks are different from poured concrete. Compressed earth blocks are compressed individually and can come as low as $5 to $10 per square foot, or $0.50 to $2 per block, not including labor.

Brick Retaining Wall Cost

Brick walls cost $10 to $45 per square foot. These act as a veneer in a retaining wall, meaning they’re only one brick thick (a wythe), typically outside of poured or block concrete. They're made of clay but created in a factory specializing in brick.

When used alone, they're often only suitable up to about four feet in height. For edging, stacked three or four high, you can use them only one wythe thick. Above that height, you’ll want to have them two wythes thick for better stability.

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Gabion and Stone Retaining Wall

Stone retaining walls cost $5 to $100 per square foot. Prices range from the inexpensive and practical gabion wall to the high-end stacked stone and limestone options.

Concrete Retaining Wall

Concrete retaining walls cost $10 to $100 per square face foot (the square feet of the face of the wall). You can choose from poured, split face block or CMU (cinder block). You may also use veneers on poured and cinder walls, while split face comes with a rock-like texture and various colors.

Retaining Wall Material Prices

MaterialAverage Price Per Square Foot
Cinder Block$10 - $15
Poured Concrete$20 - $25
Wood Timber$15 - $25
Stone Veneer$11 - $15
Boulder/Rock$8 - $12
Gabion$4 - $40
Brick$14 - $15
COR-TEN® Steel/Metal$10 - $20
Rammed Earth/Chalk$3 - $27

Retaining Wall Additions Cost

You don't have to stop at adding a wall: Customize your landscape for outdoor entertaining or resale. If you want to add a kitchen or patio on top of your wall, you'll likely need to plan for a footing in to help bear the extra weight. A few additions include:

Brick Veneers

Brick veneers cost $5 to $30 per square foot. You can cut the price further by using thin brick. Your pro attaches the brick one wythe thick against the supporting wall, usually concrete or cinder block.

Stone Veneers

Stone veneers cost $35 to $50 per square foot on average, with some materials pushing $100 per square foot. It's often rock or concrete molded and colored to mimic rock. Faux stone (concrete) costs $5 to $15 per square foot to purchase and install. Natural veneers cost far more than concrete and don’t usually offer any more protection.

Aside from their aesthetic benefits, stone veneers are highly durable and resistant to pests and rot issues. They are low-maintenance and lightweight, making them much easier to install than full stone walls. You have a few natural and faux choices, including:

  • Sandstone
  • Limestone
  • Slate
  • Granite
  • Numerous faux stone styles

Concrete Retaining Wall Foundation

Poured concrete retaining walls may require an additional $30 to $100 per linear foot for foundations and pilings. You’ll need these for walls more than four feet high. They’re also necessary for large projects in climates with freeze and thaw cycles that might crack poured concrete. To avoid this price, consider using modular blocks, which allow for slight shifting.

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Retaining Wall Cost Estimates by Location

Retaining wall costs vary slightly by location, primarily due to how much reinforcement they'll need to withstand forces applied to the earth they're holding back. Materials and size also play a large role.

  • Landscape retaining walls: $30 to $150 per linear foot
  • Driveway retaining walls: $50 to $150 per linear foot
  • Lake and seawalls: $125 to $200 per linear foot

Cost to Replace Retaining Wall

Concrete Demolition Cost$2 - $6 per sq. ft.
Land Grading Cost$900 - $3,000 total
Equipment$160 - $230 per day
Materials$3 - $40 per sq. ft.
Labor$50 - $75 per hour
Landscape Architect Fees$70 - $150 per hour

Replacing a retaining wall adds $2 to $6 per square foot for demolition and removal of the old structure. Other pricing comes from the standard design, landscaping and installation fees you’d find with new installs.

Cost to Build a Retaining Wall

The cost of labor for installing a landscaping wall ranges from $10 to $50 per square foot. Blocks with interlocking or pin mechanisms take less time to form and fit together, while monolithic rammed earth slabs require more time and care. You’ll pay an average of $50 to $75 per hour. Several other factors can drive up labor rates quickly:

  • Over four feet high: Requires footings, reinforcement and scaffolding.
  • Access: Easy access allows larger machines to do most of the work. In hard-to-reach areas, you’ll pay more for manual earth moving.
  • Gate and removal: Additional labor to remove and replace any existing fences should be factored in.

Average Labor Cost for a Retaining Wall

MaterialAvg. Labor Cost Per Hour
Wood & Railroad Ties$15 - $75
Concrete Bricks$60 - $90
Concrete Blocks$60 - $75
Dry Stacked Stone$60 - $80
Stone Veneer$30 - $75
Poured Concrete$60 - $80

Retaining Wall Repair Costs

Retaining wall repairs cost $800 to $1,000 on average. Large projects can run up to $20,000. It’s slightly more than standard wall repair costs of $650 on average. Keep an eye out for leaks, cracks and shifts. The faster you catch a problem, the lower your cost is likely to be. For an exact quote, talk to a local retaining wall repair pro.

DIY vs. Hire a Retaining Wall Pro

While short walls under four feet can make a great DIY project, they can also be hard to get right. Improper installation can lead to failure, causing damage not only to the wall but the surrounding landscape. Some municipalities require an engineer for larger projects. Find a local hardscaping company to help evaluate, design and install your next project.


Do retaining walls add value?

Retaining walls alone don’t always add value, but almost always add curb appeal when combined with other landscaping. Comprehensive landscaping projects can add up to 15% to a home’s value with an average return of 100% to 200%.

How long do retaining walls last?

Retaining walls last five to 100 years, depending on the material they’re made from:

  • Wood: five-20 years
  • Concrete: 50-100 years
  • Metal: 20-100 years
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