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January 2016

How much does a retaining wall cost?

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Here at Richmond’s Landscape construction, we are pros at retaining walls. In fact it is one of the most popular services we are asked to provide estimates for. One of the first questions potential customers want to know when they call our company is : How much does a retaining wall cost? This is a difficult question to answer, especially when it comes to rebuilding a damaged wall, so to help our customers gain a better understanding, we will address some of the reasons a retaining wall can be more or less expensive than planned.


If you are looking to build a new retaining wall, with so many options available, price ranges can vary drastically. Similar to any other home renovation , there are upgrades and variables that need to be considered when getting started. Here are a few of the most common things:

  • Height of Wall- this is a pretty obvious factor into considering cost of a retaining wall. The higher the wall, the more stone that is used as well as labor in building the wall. However, while it may seem a great place to cut costs, in some cases the height of the wall is determined by the land and what the wall is being built for. In addition to this, the height of the wall will also determine the type of block you will be able to choose from. There are limitations on some of the retaining wall blocks as to how high you can stack them.  Example. Kings Wall retaining wall block are only engineered to be a max of 4′ high including the block buried.
  • Type of block chosen-  This is pretty much one of the only things that the customer can completely control.  You have the choice of how expensive of stone you would like to purchase so this is the most effective way for you to cut costs!
  • Type of Soil-  Just like we take this into consideration when we price out a paver project, this is taken into consideration for a wall project.  We especially single out heavy clay soils because of their high water holding capacity.
  • Access-  How easy is it for our machines and guys to get to the project site?  Is it right off of the front driveway, or is it around the side of the house, squeeze through the shrubs, crouch beneath the low hanging branches. The harder a project is to access, the more hours in labor and machinery it can take to get the project completed.
  • Site Dump-  Can we leave the material that we dig out (which can get quite extensive at times) on your property, or do we have to haul it away and pay to dump it somewhere off site?


It would seem that rebuilding a wall would be very inexpensive in comparison to a new wall, but again there are many factors to consider as old walls can come with their own set of problems.

  • Clean Up – Rebuilding a retaining wall can be a very messy job. To insure that the blocks can be laid flat, each block must be cleaned of all debris and dirt before it is ready to be reapplied.
  • Back Fill- If the previous job had any backfill, our crew needs to remove all backfill from the job which can take a lot of work and costs to dump it off site.
  • Bad Builders- If the retaining wall has fallen, there is a good chance that the previous builder did not construct the wall properly. Whether it was not set up to handle the water correctly, not enough gravel or depth, or the blocks were installed incorrectly, our crews many times need to correct big mistakes before we can go about rebuilding the retaining wall.
  • Water Failure-  Most walls fail due to water problems. This means that we come in to correct the problem by using the grading, gravel, drain pipes ect to correct the issues and insure the wall will not have water issues again.
  • More Material- In most cases, our crew will need to add more blocks to the retaining wall to make sure it is strong enough to not fall over again. This again adds costs in materials and labor.

These are just a few of the things that go in to the cost of building or rebuilding a retaining wall. Because we believe in a job done right, there are sometimes more costs involved to make sure that you are provided with the best possible drainage and strength for your retaining wall. However, we stand by our work and always remind our customers that it is much more expensive to have to rebuild it after a poor installation.