If you’re looking at building a retaining wall, one of the first questions you’ll likely ask is, “What is the cost of a retaining wall?” After all, most of us don’t have an unlimited budget for all of our landscaping dreams. We’ve got to make decisions about what is and isn’t necessary based on how much money we can put into a project – and this can have major repercussions on the material and design you use.
So, if wondering about the cost of a new retaining wall, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to look at the average cost and then break it down so we can see some of the major factors that go into pricing it.
What is the Average Cost of a Retaining Wall?
Depending on the material and design you use, the final cost of your retaining wall can vary wildly. But this should be obvious. A retaining wall made from reclaimed pallet wood is going to cost significantly less than one made with brick or corten steel. Since the price can vary so much, it may be best to simply set a few basic parameters.
Based on research that’s been done, the minimum cost of a 30ft long, 4ft high retaining wall is $1,400. The maximum cost of a similar retaining wall is around $10,000. And the national average is somewhere in the middle, at about $4,200. Average homeowners will end up spending around $35 per square foot for a retaining wall. But remember, that price can be drastically different depending on what material you use and how you design your wall.
What Factors Influence the Cost of a Retaining Wall?
There are a handful of factors that go into determining the cost of your final retaining wall, including…
Material. The material you use in your retaining wall will be the largest factor in your final price. And not just because of the price of your material. Certain materials require a more complicated installation procedure which can increase labor costs.
Retaining walls can be build using any number of materials, including bricks, pavers, cinderblocks, poured concrete, timber, boulders, gabion, and more. Each of these materials offers pros and cons, and they can have a major impact on your final price.
Labor. The material of your retaining wall can also impact your final labor costs. For example, general laborers (average cost: $28 per hour) should have no problem building a retaining wall with pavers while you’ll need a metalworker (average cost: $42 per hour) if you’re going to be using metal to create a complex retaining wall design. If you’re going to do the installation yourself, labor costs won’t matter as much but there may be certain designs that you simply can’t do on your own. In that case, you can expect the cost of your retaining wall to increase.
Excavation. Depending on the location of your retaining wall, you may have to do some excavation work. And you’ll likely need to create a foundation where your retaining wall can safely sit. Both of these things will impact the wall’s final cost.
Steps. If you decide to add steps or pilasters, you’ll have to increase the final cost of your retaining wall since it will require more material and more skill to get the job done.
In addition to those above, there are numerous other, smaller factors that can play a role in the final cost of your retaining wall, including site accessibility, the number of curves in your wall, drainage solutions, and more. If you’re going to get an accurate picture of your final retaining wall cost, you’ll need to keep all of these things in mind.