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11/10/2022

Stone Retaining Wall Cost Factors: How Much Does a Retaining Wall Cost in Ohio?

For those in need of a retaining wall, you're here to know how much it's going to cost.

Retaining walls are built to hold back an embankment of soil from a lower area. They control erosion, create flat areas for use, and can be made from masonry, wood, or stone.

You can expect to pay around $19 per square foot on a tighter budget. For those with a higher budget, expect to pay closer to $50 per square foot. On average, most people spend about $23 per square foot on their retaining wall.

Here are some of the main factors affecting the price:

  • Size: Gardens with taller, longer, and thicker walls need stronger foundations and additional reinforcements than those without.
  • Excavation: To remove old retaining walls and dirt, it'll cost you $125 to $225 per cubic yard-disposal included.
  • Site prep: If your land is difficult to clear, it will likely cost you $1,500 to $3,000 per acre. The price of land grading is $0.40 to $2.00 per square foot, and tree removal costs anywhere from $300 to $700 per tree.

At Stone Center, we're seeing a lot of people asking "how much do stone retaining walls cost?" among other questions. Let's get into the material types.

Retaining Wall Cost by Material Type

stone veneer retaining wall cost
Retaining wall and patio with landscaping

Not only do you have to pay for the labor of building a retaining wall, but the concrete, stone, steel, and other materials are also very costly.

The table below delineates the total cost of popular retaining wall materials by square feet. 

Length (Linear Feet) Cost Range Average Cost
10 $400 - $3,600 $2,000
15 $600 - $5,400 $3,000
20 $800 - $7,200 $4,000
25 $1,000 - $9,000 $5,000
30 $1,200 - $10,800 $6,000
50 $2,000 - $18,000 $10,000
100 $4,000 - $36,000 $20,000
150 $6,000 - $54,000 $30,000

Stone Retaining Wall Cost

Limestone, slate, keystone, and fieldstone all fall under the category of stone retaining walls. We noticed most people were interested in the cost of limestone retaining wall blocks. But depending on the type of stone, you can expect to pay anywhere from $13 to $45 per square foot. And for those wondering about the cost of natural stone retaining wall blocks, it's pricey. You can expect to pay up to $200 per square foot, meaning the cost of stone retaining wall blocks is over 10x the price of concrete blocks.

Vinyl Retaining Wall Cost

Vinyl is a popular material for retaining walls because it's cheap, durable, and easy to install. However, vinyl can be somewhat of a one-note product when it comes to design versatility. But it's priced at around $10 to $15 per square foot.

Railroad Tie Retaining Wall Cost

Railroad ties are typically used when you want to build a very low retaining wall with a rustic, aged look. Railroad ties are made out of recycled wood and are very durable, weather-resistant, and long-lasting. They're also less expensive than the average cost of stone retaining walls, but they require more care to avoid decay. It's priced on average around $25 to $30 per square foot.

Timber Retaining Wall Cost

Wood retaining walls are one of the most popular types for homeowners and landscapers because they provide a natural look at an affordable price ranging from $15 to $30 per square foot. You can find wooden retaining wall materials in many different species, shapes, textures, and finishes.

Brick Retaining Wall Cost

Brick retaining walls are popular among homeowners in warmer climates because they tend to hold up better than most other materials. Brick can be easily painted or stained to match the exterior of your home, as well. It's priced on average around $20 to $25 per square foot.

Rammed Earth Retaining Wall Cost

Rammed earth is a unique type of retaining wall which uses a mixture of clay and sand to create an extremely strong, long-lasting material. This material can be used for all sorts of landscape projects, including exterior walls and fences. It ranges from $20 to $25 per square foot.

Gabion Cost

Gabions are wire mesh boxes filled with rocks that can be used to create retaining walls. They're typically fairly inexpensive and easy to install. Gabion walls typically cost around $10 to $40 per square foot.

Concrete Retaining Wall Cost

Concrete retaining walls are the most popular option for homeowners for their durability and flexibility. Concrete retaining walls on average cost $30 to $50 per square foot.

I-Beam Retaining Wall Cost

I-beams are an engineering marvel and are a great way to create a retaining wall when you're working with a heavy load. They are typically seen as an option only when you're dealing with extremely heavy loads and need to create a very stable wall. On average, I-beam retaining walls cost $40 to $90 per square foot.

Steel Retaining Wall Cost

stone retaining wall cost
Retaining wall of a bridge forecourt tunnel

Steel retaining walls are a great option for those who want to create an extremely durable and long-lasting retaining wall. Steel retaining, depending on the type of wall, typically costs around $15 to $150 per square foot.

Sheet-Piling Retaining Wall Cost

When you need a retaining wall that's incredibly strong, sheet piling is the way to go. This material can create very sturdy walls in areas where the soil is very loose or eroding. At $15 to $50 per square foot, sheet piling is relatively affordable and can be used in a variety of different landscaping projects.

Cinder Block Retaining Wall Cost

Cinder block walls are durable and customizable, but they can be fairly expensive. They're typically priced between $20 and $35 per square foot depending on the size and style of wall you need. This material is a great option for those looking to create a long-lasting, low-maintenance retaining wall.

Stone Center can help find a custom solution for landscape wall stone for retaining walls in Ohio based on your unique needs.

Retaining Wall Cost by Size and Height

To compare the cost of different materials for your retaining wall, you can use square footage. To find the total square footage, just multiply the length of the wall by its height.

As the height increases, so does the cost of the large stone retaining walls. This is especially true when the wall reaches heights that require permits and inspections.

For instance, a retaining wall measuring 50 feet long and two feet high differs from another that is 20 feet long but five feet high. Even though both stand at 100 square footage, the former is so low that any type of construction material, even pressure-treated lumber, can suffice.

The second wall necessitates sturdier materials, for example, big retaining wall blocks, and might even demand design plans reviewed by an engineer specializing in structures.

Retaining Wall Cost by Location

The price of a retaining wall depends on two things: where it's located and how much support it needs. No two walls are alike, so before you can accurately compare costs, you need to understand the purpose of your wall and make sure it will be able to withstand the required amount of force. Here are common stone retaining wall costs per square foot:

  • Driveway: $50 to $150
  • Swimming pool: $20 to $100
  • Landscape: $30 to $150
  • Front yard: $30 to $200
  • Shoreline: $125 to $200
  • Slope: $40 to $200
  • Backyard: $30 to $150.

Retaining Wall Cost by Labor

natural stone retaining wall cost
Retaining wall of a dry stone wall

In addition to the cost of materials, you also need to take into account the hourly cost of labor when budgeting for a retaining wall. The average contractor will charge anywhere from $50-$75 per hour. If your project requires consulting with a structural engineer, be prepared to pay between $100-$200 additional dollars per hour.

Constructing safe and eye-catching rock walls is an art form that generally requires special training, so it's better to hire experienced workers for the job. Just because the block retaining wall cost will be higher doesn't mean you won't be getting a great deal on quality work – in the end, it's worth paying for peace of mind.

Retaining Wall Cost by Type of Finish

If you want to add granite, brick, or stone veneer to an existing retaining wall, expect to pay $10-$45 per square foot in addition. Stone veneer retaining wall cost is usually slightly higher, as is brick veneer. Veneer-coated walls typically have concrete cinder-block walls forming their base. Adding a design to existing walls using stamped concrete usually costs $5 to $15 per square foot.

Retaining Wall Cost by Site Preparation

In order to build a retaining wall, the land needs to be excavated and leveled first. The cost of clearing land can vary depending on the location, condition of the land, and size of the construction site (anywhere between $500-$1,000). The price for clearing rough land starts at $1,500 and can go up to $3,000 per acre.

Tree removal generally falls between $300 and $700 per tree. Land grading charges start at $0.40 per square foot but can be as high as $2. While the cost of natural stone retaining walls (one of our favorites) is generally higher, it's certainly worth it for the beautiful and long-lasting results.

Retaining Wall Cost by Type of Drainage

The purpose of a retaining wall is to end erosion and allow better drainage, so its design must be well-planned. 

Excavating to fix drainage problems typically costs $60-$70 per linear foot. The price to destroy the current wall ranges from $20-$30 per square foot, and that's not even factoring in adding drainage or constructing the new wall.

Additional Factors to Consider

how much does a retaining wall cost
Retaining wall

Now that you know the cost of materials, labor, and site preparation, you need to consider additional factors that may increase or decrease your overall price.

Retaining Walls Lifespan

The average lifespan of a retaining wall is 50 to 100 years, though this varies depending on the material, installation quality, soil condition, and maintenance frequency. Just know that wood vs stone retaining wall cost per square foot is quite different, so you should think carefully about what materials will best meet your needs.

Wall Material Lifespan (years)
Concrete 50 - 100
Stone 50 - 200
Metal 20 - 40
Wood 10 - 40

Cost to Rebuild, Replace or Repair a Retaining Wall

If you need to rebuild or replace your existing wall, it will cost $30 to $70 per square foot. Just removing the old one costs $10-$20 less per square foot. Debris disposal is an extra charge of between $125 - 225 per cubic yard.

The cost to repair a retaining wall averages $200-$1,000, depending on the size and type of wall, as well as the severity of the damage. Older walls with significant damage often require replacing, which involves excavation work.

Work type Cost per square foot
Remove old wall $10 - $20
Install new wall $20 - $50
Total $30 - $70

DIY Retaining Wall vs. Hiring a Professional

The cost to install stone retaining wall can range from $20-$100 per square foot for those doing it themselves. Although shorter and smaller retaining walls made from dry stacked stone or concrete blocks can make for a fun DIY project, taller walls require reinforcement and should not be built by someone without the proper knowledge or experience.

Demolishing and removing materials can get expensive and a structural engineer is sometimes required by law. But at minimum, you should check out our DIY tips on the subject before tackling anything yourself.

Questions to Ask Masonry Contractors

  • When considering retaining wall types and cost, what are the best materials to use and why?
  • Do you have the ability to match my home's exterior with the wall color?
  • Can a structural engineer help me plan a retaining wall to fit my yard slope, soil type, and drainage system?
  • Will I be able to see a digital design of the wall before any construction begins?
  • Are the charges for both materials and labor included in this quote?
  • Are there any extra fees that apply?
  • Could you provide me with a portfolio of other retaining walls you have constructed?
  • Is extra drainage necessary near the foundation of this wall?
  • Will you obtain the permits and schedule site inspections?
  • What backfill and landscape fabric will you install behind the wall?
  • What is the best way to contact the team supervisor?

How to Save Money on a Retaining Wall

There are several ways that you can save on the cost of a stone retaining wall while still getting the best quality materials and installation.

  • Consider manufactured stone units: High-quality money-saving manufactured stone units or poured concrete blocks are a great option, as they can be built quickly with minimal labor.
  • Look for discounts: Many masonry contractors offer special promotions and discounts throughout the year.
  • Get several quotes: It is always a good idea to get quotes from multiple contractors in order to compare prices and services.
  • Choose eco-friendly materials: There are many sustainable options for retaining wall materials that can save you money and help protect the environment.

Conclusion

Now that you know more about the cost of a retaining wall, you can make an informed decision about whether to hire a professional or tackle the project yourself. Whatever option you choose, be sure to get plenty of estimates from reputable contractors and do your research on the best materials for your needs.

As the best natural stone supplier in Ohio, Stone Center has years of experience helping homeowners and landscapers install durable, beautiful retaining walls at affordable prices. Contact us today to learn more.