How Much Does a Concrete Retaining Wall Cost to Install?

Typical Range:

$1,000 - $15,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated September 12, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

A concrete retaining wall costs between $300 and $20,000, with the average homeowner spending $5,000 to build a concrete retaining wall. In general, you can budget between $10 and $100 per square foot for a new concrete retaining wall; commercial installations can go as high as $150 per square foot. The largest factor affecting your project total is whether you go with a poured concrete or concrete block installation.

Average Concrete Retaining Wall Cost

Average Cost$5,500
High Cost$15,000
Low Cost$1,000

Concrete Retaining Wall Cost Per Linear Foot

Concrete retaining walls cost from $30 to $150 per linear foot. Some local retaining wall contractors may price out your project per linear foot (the length of the wall) rather than the square footage of the wall face. If the wall is higher than 6 feet, they’ll likely charge you per square foot of the wall face instead, between $10 and $100 per square foot

Not clear on when contractors might use linear-foot pricing instead of square-foot pricing? Check out this table for common wall sizes and pricing models:

Wall Dimensions (Length x Height) Square or Linear Foot? Average Cost Range
10 x 4 ft. Linear $300 – $1,500
10 x 8 ft. Square $800 – $8,000
20 x 3 ft. Linear $600 – $3,000
20 x 10 ft. Square $2,000 – $20,000
30 x 6 ft. Linear $900 – $4,500
30 x 12 ft. Square $3,600 – $36,000

Concrete Block vs. Poured Concrete Retaining Walls

When constructing a concrete wall, the contractor can either pour the concrete on site or use precast concrete blocks. The typical poured concrete retaining wall cost can range from $10 to $100 per square foot, depending on the size, location, accessibility, and necessary reinforcement. Precast concrete blocks for retaining walls can also vary widely in price, from $15 to $60 per square foot.

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Precast Concrete Block Retaining Wall Costs

You’ll pay anywhere from $15 to $60 per square foot for a precast concrete block retaining wall, depending on the type used.

TypeAverage Cost Range per Square Foot
CMU/Cinder Block

$15 - $25

Large Concrete Block$20 – $45
Concrete Panel

$30 – $60

Interlocking and Modular$15 - $30

CMU or Cinder Block Retaining Wall Cost

A cinder block wall costs $15 to $25 per square foot; for shorter walls, a contractor may quote you $60 to $240 per linear foot. Add another $10 to $40 per square foot for stone or brick veneers.

You can install cinder block retaining walls quickly, easily, and affordably. The cinder blocks (or CMUs—concrete masonry units) are grouted together and usually filled with rebar and poured concrete. They are highly durable and require little maintenance; veneers aren’t necessary, but they can improve the wall's aesthetics.

Large Concrete Blocks

For commercial projects or larger home retaining walls, the contractor might recommend large retaining wall blocks. These cost $20 to $45 per square foot or $30 to $270 per linear foot.

These blocks usually:

  • Weigh 1,000 to 3,500 pounds each.

  • Come in sizes ranging from 2 cubic feet to 6-by-2-by-2 feet.

Large concrete retaining wall blocks are easy to install with heavy machinery, but they are heavy to move and not common for smaller retaining wall projects.

Concrete Precast Panels

Concrete precast panels cost $30 to $60 per square foot for residential projects; concrete retaining wall costs double that for commercial projects. Instead of blocks, your local concrete wall professional uses heavy machinery to install large panels. They’re great for large projects with no room for block installations since they take up less space.

Modular Interlocking Retaining Wall Blocks Price

Interlocking blocks, also called modular concrete blocks, cost $15 to $30 per square foot on average, about 25% to 50% less than poured concrete. The cost of split-faced blocks—concrete that’s finished to look like stone—is less expensive than stacked stone and even some veneers.

The most popular concrete choice for smaller residential installations and DIY projects, interlocking blocks save on time, equipment, and material. They even give homeowners more style and color options. Whether you decide to try the DIY route or not, get quotes from local block wall installers to compare prices in your area.

Segmented Block Retaining Wall Costs by Brand

Modular retaining wall blocks, also called interlocking blocks, made from concrete cost $15 to $30 per square foot, or $3 to $10 per block for the materials alone. However, the total interlocking retaining wall blocks price can vary slightly by brand; work with your professional to find the right brand and price for your project, but in general, you can expect to spend the following on materials for these popular brands:

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Poured Concrete Retaining Wall Cost

A poured concrete wall costs $10 to $100 per square foot or $30 to $150 per linear foot on average for installation and materials. It’s not often used in retaining walls due to its inflexibility with shifting dirt and higher price. It creates a monolithic structure perfect for a modern style. You can also stamp it or add a veneer.

The wide price ranges come from multiple factors, including:

  • Location: Local regulations, building codes, taxes, and cost of living all factor into regional pricing.

  • Reinforcement: Some require extra support depending on their height, size, and what they hold back.

  • Accessibility: Easily accessed areas allow machinery to do most of the work. Hard-to-access areas drive up labor prices.

  • Size: The size of your wall directly affects the budget needed to build it.

Stamped Concrete Retaining Wall Cost

Stamped concrete retaining walls cost $20 to $30 per square foot, on average. Stamping concrete creates shapes and patterns that can mimic stone, wood, and other similar materials. You’ll usually have it stained or painted during the building process.

Concrete Retaining Wall Cost Factors

The cost to install a retaining wall can vary depending on more than just the method and size. Additional concrete retaining wall cost factors to consider include excavation prices, finishing options, and local labor rates.

Excavation and Backfill

If you need to excavate existing land (or an older, failing retaining wall) as part of the construction process, factor in $50 to $200 per cubic yard (or $40 to $150 an hour) in excavation costs. If you need to pay for dirt or other soil to be delivered, you’ll also need to budget for backfill delivery prices.


To prevent erosion and flooding after the retaining wall is installed, you may need to have a French drain installed. Installing a French drain costs $500 to $18,000, depending on the complexity of the project.

Finishing Options

If you intend to install any special finishings, like sealants for protection or veneers or siding for better aesthetic, expect higher project costs. Veneers may add $10 to $40 per square foot.


Building a retaining wall will likely require construction permits. Ask your contractor if their quote includes the cost of construction permits.


Concrete blocks can range in price from $10 to $20 per face foot (square feet of the face of the retaining wall block), while poured concrete prices are much lower, from $2 to $5 per square foot. However, labor prices for pouring concrete on site will typically be higher.


Labor costs for poured concrete range from $10 to $20 per square foot, depending on the job's complexity. Blocks cost half as much at $5 to $10 per square foot to install but can hit higher amounts for walls taller than 4 feet, which often need a structural engineer’s help.

DIY vs. Hire a Concrete Retaining Wall Pro

Choosing to DIY or hire a concrete contractor comes down to the project size, type, and how much time you have. Since most of your project cost comes from labor, you can save money if you do the project yourself. However, most walls taller than 4 feet require a structural engineer's help per building code requirements. It’s also easy to botch a retaining wall job; leave it to a professional to ensure it’s done right the first time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are cinder blocks suitable for retaining walls?

Cinder blocks are a great material for building concrete retaining walls, and they can be cost-effective too. If you don’t like the concrete look but want to save on the cost of your retaining wall, you can use cinder blocks, then cover them with a stone, brick, or wood veneer.

How deep does a concrete retaining wall need to be?

A concrete retaining wall’s depth should be about 1/8th of its height. For example, if you have a standard 4-foot-tall retaining wall, you’ll need to bury about 6 inches of it. Typically, the concrete retaining wall’s power comes from the mass of blocks or tie-backs that protrude horizontally into the hill or dirt your wall is holding back.

How long will a concrete retaining wall last?

A concrete retaining wall should last between 50 and 100 years. You can expect the same longevity out of stone retaining walls while wood retaining walls may give out after 40 years. Routine maintenance on your concrete retaining wall can increase its lifespan; keep an eye out for cracks and loose blocks, and hire a structural engineer to analyze the wall every now and then to provide input on how to strengthen it.

Is a concrete retaining wall cheaper than wood?

The cost of a concrete retaining wall is typically higher than the price of a wood retaining wall. Concrete retaining walls can last more than twice as long as a wood retaining wall, however, especially when well cared for. If you want the durability of a concrete wall but the aesthetics of a wood wall, you can install a veneer over a concrete wall to make it look like wood.