How Much Does a Retaining Wall Cost in Raleigh, NC?

A retaining wall is a special structure that restrains soil at a steep angle. These walls are designed to stand up against the horizontal pressure of heavy earth, which slides against the structure. These slides occur more frequently during the spring, when rain increases and snow melts.

With good material, most retaining walls can last for a minimum of 35-50 years. The length of their lifespan depends on the material the structure is made of. Most retaining walls made of wood can last up to 35 years with proper care. But concrete or stone walls have an average lifespan of over 50 years, which makes them a good investment for homeowners. When properly maintained, your retaining wall will boost your home's curb appeal and increase its resale value by as much as 20%.

Why Are Retaining Walls So Expensive?

There are a lot of critical factors in starting a new home project. There are labor and supply costs involved, as well as the amount of time it takes to get the work done. It's natural to balk at the expense involved, but some projects are definitely worth it. For retaining walls, you can expect to spend anywhere from $40 to $360 per foot. This is for a structure that's 2 to 6 feet tall.

The main costs involved are the supplies used in building retaining walls. Retaining walls constructed of wood might be cheaper to build, but they are not made to last. Unlike stone or concrete, wood can rot much quicker when exposed to rain, moisture, and the elements. Moreover, it's also vulnerable to termites, which can significantly shorten its lifespan. Plus, rodents can chew through the structure and cause it to collapse within a short amount of time.

Like wood, brick is a cheap material used to make retaining walls. However, bricks don't last as long as concrete or stone. The main reason is that bricks lack a coherent system that bonds together to guard against normal pressure from earth slides.

A good retaining wall is durable, flexible, and strong. Most are made of concrete and stone, but they can be made of other materials as well. They include wood, brick, and concrete blocks. Unfortunately, wood and brick aren't as resistant as stone or concrete, which means that they simply won't last as long. Concrete blocks may offer better protection, but their lack of consistency can leave a retaining wall prone to wear and tear quicker than poured concrete.

Retaining walls made of stone or poured concrete can withstand elements and are made to last. They're designed to offer optimal protection against lateral slides because of their strength. Poured concrete forms a natural barrier that's consistent in protecting against earth slides. Furthermore, it's solid and dense, and can last for many years with very little maintenance required.

Much like poured concrete, stone is strong and durable. Organic stone adds an aesthetic quality to your home and garden due to its authentic appeal. You can choose stone that's natural enough to blend with your landscape while shielding your property against soil erosion and excess gravel. You can use locally sourced granite, quartzite, or marble to build your wall. All it takes is a bit of mortar to seal the stones together for strength and endurance.

Cost of Retaining Wall Installation in Raleigh, NC

For retaining walls, there's more to cost than labor and supplies. You must factor in the size of the wall and the area where it will be built. Other things to consider are building materials, wall type, land prep, waterproofing, reinforcements, and drainage.

Building Materials and Wall Type

The materials used in building a retaining wall impact labor and supply costs. For walls made of steel or natural stone, the price can range from $15-$150 per linear foot. Walls comprised of railroad ties run from $20-$25 per square foot. They make an exceptional choice for stepped walls; however, they cannot exceed 4 feet in height.

A boulder, or stone wall, ranges from $15 to $95 per square inch. The amount you spend depends on the type of stone you choose. Granite and stone veneer are the two cheapest options, yet both are known for their strength and durability. Furthermore, granite has several design options to suit your taste.

Natural stone, on the other hand, can be more costly. What adds to their expense is their natural beauty and allure. Natural stone is the most challenging material to work with and can take more time to install. It requires a lot of precision, which means that each stone will need to be measured and professionally cut for an accurate fit.

The average cost of a concrete retaining wall ranges from $20 to $55 per square foot. Prices vary according to the type of concrete used during construction. Both shotcrete and cement concrete are your cheapest options for installation, but neither are as sturdy as regular concrete.

Concrete blocks are a little better because they are made from poured concrete; however, they cannot support a lot of weight without good reinforcement. Although it's the most expensive option, poured concrete is best because it can support the most weight. It also lasts the longest and requires minimal maintenance.

The starting price for interlocking blocks is $15, but they can cost as much as $35 per square foot. These walls offer your home an aesthetic appeal, plus they're fire resistant. They can contain it and prevent it from affecting your gardens and other surrounding areas. They're weather-resistant and can withstand temperature extremes. Interlocking blocks are resilient to heavy winters and won't fracture or crack during extreme temperature changes. This makes them ideal for regions where climates are harsher.

Block retaining walls start at $8.81 and can go up to $11.71 per square foot, making them one of the most affordable to work with. Some prices vary according to the type of block you're working with. For example, if you choose landscape or concrete blocks, your starting costs would be $15 per square foot. The highest price for concrete blocks is around $35, while landscape blocks can cost as much as $60 per square foot. Cinderblocks range from $20 to $35 per square foot.

Gabion walls are valued for their strength and resilience to heavy loads. These wall types are typically built near shorelines, where they can stand up to water and soil erosion. Plus, they're inexpensive, with prices ranging between $10 and $55 per square foot. They're not as attractive as brick or stone and would not enhance your home's curb appeal. However, they are easy to install and maintain.


A retaining wall that's 2 feet long will cost anywhere from $40-$200 per foot. 6-foot walls average $360 per foot, while anything that's 10 feet starts at $2,000. A 15-foot wall costs around $3,000, and anything 20 feet and over costs a minimum of $4,000 per linear foot.

The estimated price for a wall that's 42 square feet is between $840-$2,226, while the price range for one that's 175 square feet is $3,500-$9,275. A wall that's 350 square feet can range from $7,000 to $18,550 per foot.


Location is another critical factor because there are differences in purpose. The cost per linear foot varies according to use and the level of support you need for that location.For example, a wall that's built near a swimming pool can run from $20-$100, and one that's situated in your driveway can average between $30-$120. In both cases, a retaining wall is more for decoration than supporting lateral foundation shifts.

Most retaining walls that are built for your garden and front yard can start at $30 per linear foot. The average maximum cost for a garden wall is $150, while a front yard can run up to $150.

Land Prep

Land prep is part of the process of building any type of retaining wall. It includes taking precise measurements of the area where you want to build. You must have a trench dug then filled with enough granite to form a solid foundation that supports the wall. Next, lay some bricks down so that they're perfectly even. Smooth the gravel as needed and continue until you form the right foundation. You can then begin building your retaining wall.


Drainage is another vital step in constructing your retaining wall. This is especially true if you live in an area that's susceptible to frequent heavy downpours. Although it may be non-applicable(N/A) for drier regions, you may want to add one just as an added measure.. Be sure to install a corrugated pipe that runs the entire length of your wall. Add a drain sleeve to block debris so that it doesn't impact your wall.

Make Your Property Stand Out!

Give us a call today for a free estimate. We can design and build to your liking!

For Further Inquiries Call:

(919) 420 - 3620

Frequently Asked Questions

Retaining walls use a variety of materials to hold back soil. Traditional options include concrete (blocks or poured), natural stone, and brick. These materials are strong, durable, and can offer an attractive appearance. Wood (treated timbers or railroad ties) is a more affordable option but has a shorter lifespan compared to masonry.

Modern retaining walls sometimes incorporate gabions (wire baskets filled with rocks) for a unique look, or interlocking concrete blocks for easier DIY installation. The best choice for your project depends on factors like your budget, the height of the wall, desired appearance, and the amount of soil pressure the wall needs to withstand.

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