What’s the Average Cost of Building a Retaining Wall?


If you want a retaining wall, it’s best to know how much to budget for. With this Angi, formerly Angie’s List, guide, you can get an estimation as to the cost of the type of wall you want built. Retaining walls become a focal point, so they should look good as well as being functional. They may be made out of a number of different materials, and they vary a lot in length as well as quality. All of this will be reflected in the price. 

The Average Cost of a Retaining Wall

The average cost of building a retaining wall is $5,650. You can expect to spend anywhere from $3,230 to $8,670 for most retaining walls. The exact cost has a lot to do with the labor cost of the crew and the materials that are used as well as the height and thickness of your wall. If you have a low-end project, it might cost as little as $1,250, and a high-end wall can be as much as $14,000. If you want a lot of upgrades to your wall or you want a high-quality finish, expect to pay more. 

The Cost of Labor

One of the larger costs is the labor needed to build the wall. The average labor cost for this project is from $50 to $75 an hour. If you want to calculate it by the square foot of the wall, expect to pay about $10 to $50 each, depending on which materials are used in it. There are some materials that are much easier to install and some that are much harder. The cost you will pay for labor often depends on how difficult the job is and how hard the installation is. Poured concrete walls and dry stacked stone can be hard to do, and you can expect to pay $60 to $80 for each of these. Concrete bricks can run you $60 to $90 while concrete blocks are $60 to $75. Wood and railroad ties may only be from $15 to $75, and stone veneer can be anywhere from $30 to $80.

The Cost of the Location

If your wall needs extra care to get it built, you can expect a higher hourly rate for the labor. The reinforcement needed for the wall as well as any scaffolding that is needed and the removal of the fencing that is already there can increase the labor costs. Whether the wall needs a lot of special attention can also depend on where the wall is located. 

If the retaining wall is built in a landscaped area, you can expect to pay about $30 to $150 for each linear foot. If the retaining wall will be a part of the driveway, you will pay an average of $50 to $150 for each linear foot. If your retaining wall is next to the sea or a lake, the cost will average from $125 to $200 for each linear foot. 

The Cost of the Materials

There are a lot of materials that can be used to build a retaining wall, and some of them are simply more expensive than others. A high degree of durability is often associated with a higher cost. Stone, brick, steel and I-beams tend to be on the more expensive side, but they are extremely durable and tend to look high-end. If you are looking for a lower-cost retaining wall, you might consider getting a wall made from railroad ties, rammed earth, wood and timber, and inexpensive varieties of gabion and stone. Before you choose a material, think about how visible the wall will be and what you will want to look at when you see it. 

If you’re thinking about hiring a retaining wall installer for your project, visit Angi to get quotes from contractors in your area. Then, start gathering ideas for the wall you want and start budgeting.