We all want to upgrade our homes. That’s a universal truth. But how? There are so many ways to go about it. 

There is the problem of finance. You don’t want to spend beyond your means when you make your landscape design choice.

That’s why you should consider a retaining wall. It is a beautiful structure that keeps soil or any piece of earth strong and in place. They’re usually higher than a garden wall and they can support a lot of weight. Your local landscaping company ensures that they build it to last. 

They do not stop there. You can show them any of these five unique retaining wall ideas for a top-of-the-line outdoor living space.

The best part is that its benefits far outweigh the retaining wall cost.

What are the Cheapest Materials in Building Retaining Walls?

“Could that be true?” I can elevate my outdoor haven with any regular Home Depot retaining wall?”

Well, not quite. If you’re a prodigy at DIY home improvement, you might pull it off. But think about the cost, risks and hard labor. If that’s not something you’re comfortable with, reach out to the pros. We can get you the retaining wall you dream about for the best price your budget allows.

Let’s take a look at the costs and some information on retaining wall materials.

Wood or Timber

Wood or Timber

Cost: 1 thousand to 2.8 thousand dollars total

A timber or wood retaining wall is your best choice if you have a tight budget. You pressure-treat the wood. Then, you can build the wall up to four feet high.

Even though these walls are cheap, you have to consider a few disadvantages.

First, it doesn’t last as long as a wall support made of stone or cinder blocks.

Secondly, the wood comes in huge fragments that are tricky to transport.

Wood retaining walls are beautiful if you like the natural look. But because of their size, you need help building one if you want one that is taller than four feet.

Natural Stones

Cost: 5 thousand to 10 thousand dollars total 

Say you still like that natural feeling around your garden or patio but you want something that lasts longer than wood. A natural stone retaining wall is your new best friend.

They’re rustic and homeowners have used them throughout the ages, with good reason. They support themselves and you can build them anywhere on your property. It doesn’t matter what size property you have.

A lot of landscaping businesses love to build these ones. That’s because you can pick from a ton of different stones to find the perfect choice. They’re also cost-effective.

Hire a professional for this one. If you do it by yourself, it’s time-consuming and dangerous. You have to choose what natural stones you want to use and then lift them. Believe us when we say: they’re heavy.

You also have to cut and place the stones. And you have to undertake the whole process with retaining-wall laws and local ordinances in mind.

Stone or Brick Blocks

Stone or Brick Blocks

Cost: 11 to 15 dollars per square foot

Stone or brick retaining wall blocks are more expensive, but the price speaks for itself. They are both hardy and gorgeous.

“Why can’t I just gather my own stones? Wouldn’t it be cheaper?” The short answer is yes, it would cost less. But here’s the catch: you have to ensure you stack them the right way so they’re secure.

This is where the experts come in again. They make sure the magic happens for you so you don’t have to worry about a big wall tumbling down and hurting you or a loved one.

If you do want to lower the overall cost, consider bricks or concrete blocks instead of stone ones.

Concrete Cinder Blocks

Cost: Approximately 3.2 thousand to 8.65 thousand dollars total

Landscape blocks make up this block wall. They are the first thing you imagine when you think of a retaining wall since they are so popular.

You choose the design, pattern or color that works best for you. Then, your landscaping company can transport and build them with ease. And you don’t have to sacrifice quality, either; they remain solid and strong over the years.

Poured Concrete

Cost: 20 to 25 dollars per square foot

A poured-concrete retaining wall is sturdy all-around. But you can’t go at it alone here.

Landscaping experts have to pour the concrete vertically. That means you need someone with experience who goes through the whole process according to strict guidelines and planning.

Keep in mind that any future repairs are pricey and take time.

Why Do You Need to Build a Retaining Wall?

Why do you need a retaining wall at all? After all, you’ve had a beautiful outdoor living space for all this time, the way it is now. 

Think about it in a different way. When you have a loose knob on a dresser inside your home and the means to fix it, do you leave it loose? No.

Say that you do. The jiggly knob might cause problems later, decrease the value of your dresser and look unappealing in general.

Now apply that to your outdoor property. Here are just a few of the endless benefits when you build a retaining wall. The wall:

  • Enhances the beauty of your landscape
  • Keeps the soil you have outside in place
  • Prevents flooding and soil erosion to your entire nearby landscape as a drainage system
  • Reduces landscape maintenance costs

5 Budget-Friendly and Easy Retaining Wall Designs

You have one lingering question:

“With all this information, how am I supposed to pick the best design for my home?”

It’s always a good idea to spark some inspiration from others’ success. Keep reading and you’ll find five designs that we know you’ll love.

For each design, we give you:

  • A scenario where you might want to choose this one
  • A brief description
  • Overall costs
  • Pros and cons

You will leave here today with only two questions left:

“Which one do I pick and how soon can I get started?”

Old Timber Retaining Walls

Scenario: You need a load-bearing wall for your landscape. You like the organic look of crushed stone but you researched the price and it was way too high. You have a small- to medium-sized outdoor setting but you might expand it. You have time for upkeep.

Description: Timber retaining walls vary. But most people opt for the same standard materials. These include treated pine and treated hardwood. Some of them have what looks like horizontal wooden slats all the way across, supported by vertical wooden posts. If you like the rustic vibe, though, others favor a sort of vertical tree stump rooted into the earth.

Overall costs: 9 to 46 dollars per square foot

Pros and cons: They’re inexpensive, so they will not last forever. But with maintenance, they last for years. They are also easy to assemble with a short building period and compatible with most landscapes.

Cinder Block Retaining Wall

Scenario: You love simple, stacked shapes for your landscape. You have a small yard, but you’re not sure if you prefer the modern or natural look. You need a wall with little upkeep that lasts for a long time.

Description: These are just what you imagine. Each retaining wall block is made of a cinder. They’re rectangular, small and greyish. Over time, they grow moss.

Overall costs: 20 to 125 dollars per square foot

Pros and cons: You get a similar design to concrete without the added cost. The cinder blocks aren’t too heavy. They also work well with a small space, but you can build on them if you need to. They start out with a simple appearance but grow moss over time. They last for a while.

Used Railway Sleepers Wall

Scenario: You’re leaning towards the wooden design ideas, but something is missing. You want a unique and natural retaining wall but you can’t spend much.

Description: A landscaping company builds vertical railway sleepers, or railroad ties, from the ground up. They stand on the ground and let your stunning landscape peep through at the top.

Overall costs: Around 75 dollars per sleeper

Pros and cons: They might not last forever, but they are cost-effective and the materials are easy to snag and build. They look natural and amazing in the fall.

Poured Concrete Wall

Scenario: You like concrete, but you don’t want to spend as much as you would on concrete blocks. You don’t want to limit yourself with shape and you have any size of outdoor space.

Description: A poured concrete wall mixes concrete, gravel and pebbles. Typical ones are square or rectangle, but you can have almost any shape you can think of.

Overall costs: 20 to 25 dollars per square foot

Pros and cons: You can’t do this one yourself. It also takes a good bit of time to prepare and execute. But you get to choose its shape and it works for small, medium or large outdoor spaces.

Natural Stones Boulders Wall

Natural Stones/Boulders Wall

Scenario: You want a small retaining wall. You don’t want the extra price for cement or mortar; you just want a natural color palette. You want a fancy one that doesn’t break the bank.

Description: A popular option is the natural, stacked stones or boulders wall. It blends neutral colors and lays flat but still has texture.

Overall costs: 8.5 thousand dollars total on average

Pros and cons: You get what you pay for, so a top-tier one is pricey. They’re strong, last for a while and you can find your own stones. But you need a professional to stack them safely and effectively.


A retaining wall is a surefire way to level up your backyard. It elevates style, adds privacy and keeps your garden safe from flooding.

That’s hard to do on your own. Sometimes, you can’t do it alone at all because of laws and regulations. But we are on your team.

At Exscape Designs, we’re here to collaborate with you for the landscape of your dreams. For more fun ideas like these, head over to our blog. For premium residential and commercial landscaping services, contact us today.

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