Retaining Wall Design and Cost


There are lots of ways to build a retaining wall. This article will show you what the most attractive walls are and what they might cost.

Dry Stack Flagstone Retaining Wall

Hands down it is the best looking wall. Everyone will love your wall. It takes a skilled craftsman to produce it. You will get a lot of variety in the wall because the product is natural. The best dry stack walls actually have some cement holding them together that can not be seen.

Block Retaining Walls

If you like a good design, stay away from any man made block walls. They just don’t look natural. Many give you a boxy feel. It’s like you’re in a city park instead of a natural setting.

Boulder Retaining Walls

Boulder walls are beautiful and cost effective. To get best results, make sure you know what the rock looks like before ordering. Boulder walls should start out with larger rocks and move up to smaller rocks. A typical wall will start out with five foot rocks and work on up to two foot rocks for the top level. Don’t build boulder walls with all the rocks being of one size. Larger rocks definitely look better, if you have enough space.

Wood Retaining Walls

The most common wood retaining wall is the railroad tie wall. The oil in the wood helps preserve it for a long time. They are extremely strong, inexpensive, and long lasting. Railroad ties come in grades. If you purchase low grade ties, the wall will be very inexpensive. The main downside is that about 50% of people think they are ugly.

Concrete Retaining Walls

Not a great landscaping wall. They are pretty ugly unless resurfaced with stone or stucco. And, by the time you add on the cost of making it look good, you might as well have built something else.


$75.00 per foot, including labor, is a good average. If you have the materials, $10.00 per foot, for labor, is a good starting point.

Railroad tie walls are the least costly option.

Boulder walls are also one of the least costly walls. The biggest factor is buying the stone because the prices fluctuate wildly. $750.00 per 12 yard truck is an average price.

Dry stack flagstone walls look the best, but are the most costly.

Prices on retaining walls are close enough that you are usually better off focusing on what you want more than price. Prices don’t make a large difference unless you are building a lot of wall.