Inexpensive retaining wall ideas

Inexpensive retaining wall ideas DEFAULT

Architecture & Building, Interior Design

Do you want some attractive and less costly ideas for building your retaining wall?

A garden retaining wall is an effective way to hold back tons of dirt, especially when it rains, and it can be a decorative feature. However, to build a retaining wall does not have to put a strain on your budget. Here are cheap retaining wall ideas that will make an attractive yet inexpensive wall.

1. Landscape timbers

You can use pressure-treated pine lumber to make an inexpensive retaining wall. Although landscape timbers have the shortest lifespan compared to other retaining wall materials, such stone or concrete, a wood retaining wall is still durable and can last for 10 to 20 years.

cheap retaining wall ideas australia2. Dry-stack rocks

Dry-stack rock retaining walls are cheap because you can use rocks available in your landscape, or buy from construction sites or quarries at a lower cost than natural stones. This works best if your retaining wall is less than 4 feet tall.

3. Gabion walls

Gabion walls are constructed of natural stone piled up and held together with wire.  Builders often fill the centre with something inexpensive, sturdy and heavy, and then pour the higher-quality stone into the parts that can be seen. If you add wood planks on the top, the retaining wall can also be a garden bench or a platform for container plants.

4. Recycled materials

Another cheap retaining wall idea is to look for materials you can repurpose as a cheap way to build a retaining wall. Old tyres, for example, can be used and you can plant trailing groundcover plants behind the tyres, to add texture to your garden while hiding the tyres.

cheap retaining wall ideas5. Poured concrete

Cheap retaining wall ideas Australia. Poured concrete is a simple idea where plywood forms are set up and secured in place. Then the concrete is poured between the pieces and the forms are removed after it has set and dried.

6. Cheap wood retaining wall ideas

Usually a wood retaining wall is less than four feet tall. Two basic construction methods can be employed. One method uses upright stanchions anchored in a concrete footing, with horizontal wall planks measuring 2 x 6. In the other method, very large timbers, usually 6 x 6, are stacked and reinforced by steel. Your contractor can select the best construction method for your wall.

cheap diy retaining wall ideas australia

7. Cheap DIY retaining wall ideas

One cheap DIY retaining wall idea is to use pressure-treated 2x4s, plywood and trim boards. This construction will be easy and fast. You can also build the wall with concrete blocks and then adorn it with stone. Brick/stone retaining wall is another idea where you fill the wall with stones, bricks or other materials to create a gabion wall.


Looking for retaining wall ideas and more?

ContactConcrete Sleeper Sydney today. We are the leading supplier of garden step kits, retaining walls and sleepers of all kinds. We have several years of experience working with concrete sleepers and retaining walls, providing low-cost, affordable, quality concrete retaining walls to our customers. Browse through our extensive product range or send email to [email protected].



Inexpensive retaining wall ideas – creative landscape designs

DIY Inexpensive retaining wall ideas garden decorating ideas


We selected some inexpensive retaining wall ideas which will help you construct a garden wall which will be not only functional, but will decorate your front yard or backyard or divide your outdoor area into zones.

A retaining garden wall can be built from different materials and depending on the purpose and function some walls need to be strong and durable, which means that the materials for the construction have to meet certain criteria. However, when the garden wall has more decorative purpose, for example – to define flower beds, or divide the fireplace are from the dining area, you can choose cheaper materials and build it without spending a lot of money.

The choice of material depends on the style of the landscape design and, of course, your personal preferences and the budget. Very often the cost of materials does not differ too much, but you need to foresee the cost for labor as well unless you plan to build the garden wall by yourself which will reduce the price significantly.


Inexpensive retaining wall ideas – pros and cons of concrete

concrete garden wall modern patio decorating ideas


One of the most popular inexpensive retaining wall ideas is to construct it from concrete. Depending on the terrain of the site, a concrete wall can have a different height – from quite low – in meters, up to five meters. It can be constructed from poured concrete or concrete blocks. When pouring concrete you need to build a frame beforehand and this is a great option for curved walls. Concrete is a strong material so the wall does not to be really thick and this will save you money on the material. Pouring walls out of concrete is quite simple and does not require exceptional skills and experience. Very often, concrete walls are not the most attractive in terms of appearance and you will need a decorative finish to add to the visual appeal of the overall landscape design.


Inexpensive retaining wall ideas – why choose wood logs?


Inexpensive retaining wall ideas wood logs

Using wood logs is another creative idea for constricting an affordable retaining wall. Logs can be installed vertically or horizontally in the ground forming a wall. Generally, wood garden walls are considered to be the most difficult in terms of construction, but at the same time, one of the cheapest options. Wood species vary in price significantly, but you have alternatives – to use recycled wood from pallets, for example, railway sleepers, etc. The easiest way to erect a wall is the vertical installation of logs which are tightly fitted to each other to create a reliable support for the soil. These walls require a special trench with a depth of at least cm, depending on the height. The trench adds to the strength of the wall but remember that drainage is a must. There are log walls installed on a layer of gravel but they must be treated with special protection against moisture. One of the major advantages of wooden structures is their visual appeal and beauty and their decorative value is undeniable. Wood garden walls can be used in landscapes in different styles – rustic, modern, Mediterranean, etc.


Inexpensive retaining wall ideas with gabions

durable and inexpensive gabion retaining wall

Retaining garden walls made of gabions are widely popular due to the low price and high efficiency. Gabions have many advantages compared to alternative materials. They are affordable, strong and durable, with excellent drainage capacity and easily transported and installed. In addition, gabions are environmentally friendly, you can use a variety of materilas to fill the containers and create a visually attractive wall. The low labor cost is another huge advantage, especially if you work on a tight budget.

Gabions are a container made of metal mesh with stone (or other) material inside. If the retaining wall is low, then it is possible to install it without a foundation on a well-cleared and prepared area. If the height is one meter or more, it will be necessary to dig a foundation and fill it with a gravel-sand cushion. Containers are installed and tied together. You can use different stone to fill the containers – flagstone, granite, etc – for more decorative appearance. To save on the cost, you could fill the front side of the containers with beautiful stone and fill the rest of the container with inexpensive cobblestone, pebbles or the same gravel.



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Ideas to Make an Inexpensive Retaining Garden Wall

By Renee Miller

Rock walls are inexpensive and can suit traditional and modern landscape styles.

A garden retaining wall is an effective way to prevent soil erosion, and it can be a decorative feature. Building a retaining wall around your garden doesn't have to put a strain on your budget. Several materials are available, some of which you may already have on hand, that make an attractive and inexpensive garden retaining wall.

Landscape Timbers

Pressure-treated pine lumber or railroad ties make an inexpensive retaining wall in your garden. Wood is a natural material that adds warmth and texture. However, untreated timbers may crack, and most types will become discolored over time. While landscape timbers have the shortest lifespan when compared to other retaining wall materials, such stone or concrete, a wood retaining wall is still durable, typically lasting 10 to 20 years.

Dry-Stack Rocks

Dry-stack rock retaining walls are inexpensive because you can use rocks already in your landscape, or find them at quarries or construction sites at a lower cost than commercially available natural stones. This type of wall is ideal when you need a retaining wall that is less than 4 feet tall, but it shouldn’t be used for walls exceeding 4 feet in height. Ensure your wall is at least half as wide as it is tall. For example, a 2-foot wall should be at least 1 foot wide. When constructing the wall, use wide rocks that fit together tightly, and place your larger rocks on the bottom. Slope the wall inward about 1 to 2 inches per foot of height to prevent the rocks from toppling over.

Gabion Walls

Constructed of wire, wood and rocks, gabion walls were originally used as a cover wall on military front lines because they’re easily taken down and moved, and they can be filled with rocks or other materials at a new location. Their industrial appearance and clean lines make them ideal as a retaining wall in a modern landscape. To make a gabion wall, construct a wire mesh box with a sturdy wood frame and fill it with rocks, colored stones or rock and cement from a local blast site. Gabion walls can be made in one long, continuous wall, or as small containers you can stack in sections. If you add wood planks on the top, you can create a retaining wall that’s also a garden bench or a platform for container plants.

Recyled Materials

The cheapest way to build a retaining wall for your garden is to look for materials you can repurpose at no cost. For example, if you have old tires hanging around, these can be used to make a long-lasting garden retaining wall. They’re not usually visually appealing on their own, but if you plant trailing groundcover plants behind the tires, the foliage will grow over the sides, adding texture to your garden while hiding the tires. When constructing a wall with tires, fasten them with metal posts or wire and fill each tire with gravel. You can also recycle broken concrete, timber from old structures, such as decks or sheds, or damaged bricks into an attractive garden wall.



Writer Bio

Renee Miller began writing professionally in , contributing to websites and the "Community Press" newspaper. She is co-founder of On Fiction Writing, a website for writers. Miller holds a diploma in social services from Clarke College in Belleville, Ontario.

Retaining wall with gabion baskets - Cost saving panel with cobbles and recycled brick - Part 1

Nature’s uneven terrain has its charm until you try to play croquet on a hilly lawn or enjoy a candlelit dinner on an off-kilter patio.

What Can I Do With a Sloped Backyard?

Install a retaining wall for a sloped backyard and you can carve out functional outdoor spaces where once there were only precarious slopes.

To help you, we asked our experts for their inexpensive retaining wall ideas so you can choose which sturdy and stylish structure for leveling your landscape.


What Is the Cheapest Type of Retaining Wall?

The cheapest type of retaining wall is poured concrete. Prices start at $ per square foot for poured concrete, $ for interlocking concrete block, $ for pressure-treated pine, and about $11 for stone. Installation or supplies, such as drainage stone or filter fabric, are not included.

4 Retaining Wall Ideas

1. Terrace the Backyard

Reader Mike Sieber of Mannington, West Virginia, stacked large stone modular blocks to level off a steep decline and make distinct areas for entertaining and game-playing.

2. Carve Out a Patio

Readers Dominique and Eric Butters of Silver Spring, Maryland, cut into the slope behind their home, lined the ledge with interlocking concrete blocks, and gained a patio with a sitting wall.

3. Transition to the Sidewalk

Reader Sandra Yoshioka of Torrance, California, used stuccoed-block walls to create a flower-filled buffer between the sidewalk and her front door.

4. Create a Driveway

Reader Clifford Parker of Jamestown, California, raised the grade in his yard and built a hybrid stone-and-timber wall to hold up the outer edge of a new gravel drive.


Wall inexpensive ideas retaining

Although the predominant purpose of a retaining wall is to support soil on two different levels, they are also a great way to improve outdoor space. In fact, there are hundreds of design ideas available, all in varying materials, heights, and styles.

The cheapest types of retaining walls are wood and concrete blocks, followed by concrete and stones or bricks. Each material has benefits and drawbacks, including strength, longevity, and attractiveness. For those who are planning on building their own retaining wall, it is vital to plan and research.

This article will explain the basics of a retaining wall, the different materials and approaches that can be used, and things to watch out for when building.

Building a retaining wall

Building a retaining wall has many advantages, such as increasing the amount of usable space in your outdoor areas.

Additionally, depending on the height and design, retaining walls can act as a great built-in seating area. By integrating additional features, such as plants or lights, a functional wall can also become an eye-catching focal point of a yard.

Size your project first

Whether doing it yourself or hiring a contractor, several things must be taken into account before starting:

  • Due to the amount of lifting and moving of soil and materials, this project would require more than one person
  • Depending on the size of the retaining wall, a building permit may be needed before starting construction.
  • Proper drainage must be included in your design as the soil can become very heavy when wet. We&#;ve written about the importance of drainage in the past.

With all of the different designs and materials available, it is important to research properly. Plan what you would like your retaining wall to look like and what steps need to be taken in order to be successful.

Types of Retaining Walls

The cost of building a retaining wall is not only reliant on the material used but additional expenses like the need for excavation or backfilling.

It is important to use a material that you feel comfortable with. For those that do not have a lot of experience doing this type of work themselves, there are blocks manufactured specifically for retaining walls that can make the process significantly easier.

Although retaining walls can be constructed using many things, there are four main types.

There is wood, concrete blocks, poured concrete, and stone or bricks, in order of least to most expensive. Each has significant advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to do lots of research before choosing which material is best for your project.


Cost: $1, &#; $2, total (source)

If cost is your biggest concern, pressure-treated wood is the best material for building your retaining wall. 

Although inexpensive, there are several downsides to using wood instead of other materials. Wood does not last nearly as long as stones or concrete blocks would, and the pieces are often large and awkward to transport.

This is definitely a type of wall that would require an extra set of hands or two and could potentially need the help of an engineer if walls higher than 4 feet ( meters) are desired. 

For more information on how to effectively build a retaining wall using timber, check out this video from This Old House:

Concrete Cinder Blocks

Cost: $3, &#; $8, (source)

Interlocking concrete blocks, also called landscaping blocks, makes it a lot easier to plan and build your retaining wall. These manufactured blocks can come in various designs, colors, and patterns to suit any taste. They are very popular due to how easy they are to use and transport, without sacrificing any durability or strength.

If you would like to learn more about interlocking blocks, watch this video from Handyman Startup:

Poured Concrete

Cost: $$25 per square foot (source)

Although strong, poured concrete is not the best choice for building their retaining wall by themselves. Pouring concrete vertically, as required for a wall, requires a lot of experience and preparation. Additionally, if there are any problems in the future and the wall needs to be repaired, it is costly and time-consuming to do so. 

Stone or Brick

Cost: $$15 per square foot (source)

The most expensive materials, stone or brick, are a great option for those interested in a sturdy but attractive retaining wall. For a more cost-effective option, stones can be gathered on-site to use, but ensuring they are stacked properly and securely is tricky. Bricks are easier to stack, and one could potentially use cinder blocks to reduce overall costs.

How To Build a Strong Retaining Wall

If a retaining wall is properly designed and built, potential problems could be avoided to reduce the chance of damages over time. Each material has strengths and weaknesses; however, one can use additional materials to reinforce the retaining wall and reduce the chances of breaking or collapsing.

Products like My Supply Shed Retaining Wall Geogrid from are designed to be installed while the wall is being built and can provide additional support.

How To Avoid Potential Issues

Three commons problems could potentially lead to the collapse of your retaining wall:

  • If the soil behind the retaining wall becomes too wet, hydrostatic pressure can build and cause damage. In addition to proper drainage, most of the material behind the retaining wall should be some gravel (e.g., 3/4 -minus or bank-run gravel is ideal).
  • When the soil becomes overly saturated and freezes behind the wall, a break could eventually occur. Drainage is important even in cold temperatures when frost can form. In addition to gravel, a concrete block can be used as a base if heavy frost is expected.
  • A heavy load is placed near the wall, which can cause tipping or leaning. This can be avoided if items like cars or sheds remain at least 3 feet away from the retaining wall’s top. If you know that this may be a problem, tiebacks can be installed to add extra support.

All of these issues are avoidable if the proper planning and care go into building the retaining wall. It is much easier to build a strong, stable wall initially than going back to fix it later.

Familiarize Yourself With Available Resources

For projects that many decide to do themselves, there are a large number of resources available. Online videos, forums, and step-by-step instructions from experienced engineers, landscapers, and handymen are available to help.

Additionally, there are many books about building retaining walls, like Ultimate Guide: Walks, Patios (Creative Homeowner) from This highly reviewed book provides design ideas and directions for retaining walls, as well as walks and patios.

In Summary

Retaining walls are a great way to open up your yard and create a beautiful landscaping feature. To do this as economically as possible, wood is the best material to use when creating the wall.

It is important to do a lot of research and planning before building and ensure that all of the proper steps and precautions are taken.

To avoid potential issues due to wet soil or frost, the retaining wall must be built with the proper drainage, reinforcements, and foundation. 


The best and most economical retaining wall system / by The Solutioneers

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