How much does it cost to build a retaining wall?
Retaining walls can help prevent erosion and can serve to accent the surrounding landscape. These walls help direct the flow of water in the lawn area and guard against the displacement of soil.
Typical Retaining Wall Building Costs
- Wood retaining wall: The average cost for materials and labor for building a wood retaining wall by square foot is $15-$50.
- Stone retaining wall: For a stone retaining wall, the cost range for materials and installation is typically $20-$45 per square foot.
- Concrete retaining wall: The average cost for materials and labor for a poured concrete retaining wall by square foot is $30-$55. Concrete block walls typically cost around $15-$30 per square foot.
- Engineer costs: The cost for hiring an engineer to plan and build a standard retaining wall (30" high x 20' long) is typically in the range of $250-$500. Larger retaining walls and more complex projects may require a higher fee for the engineer.
Low-End Estimate for Retaining Wall Installation
For a concrete block or wood retaining wall: About $15-$50 per square foot.
High-End Estimate for Retaining Wall Installation
For poured concrete or elaborate stone retaining walls: About $30-$55 per square foot.
What to Expect
- Materials: Retaining walls can be made from a variety of materials including wood, stone, brick, or concrete. In addition to the building materials, other items needed may include shovels, a trough, mortar, and gravel.
- Timing: Basic retaining wall installation can take 8-10 hours for a 10- to 6-foot wall. Projects with a higher level of complexity can take several days.
- Mess: Since many retaining wall projects will require the displacement of soil and other landscaping elements, there can be a significant amount of mess. Be sure that ample time for cleanup is included in the installation plan.
- To ensure that the retaining wall is properly positioned and evenly grounded, it is important to use a level when installing a retaining wall.
- For retaining walls more than 3' high or for those that involve poured concrete, it is recommended that a professional handle the installation process.
- Retaining walls require limited maintenance and can help with the preservation of the overall landscape.
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