How Much Does a Retaining Wall Cost to Build?

Retaining walls are a great way not only to improve the overall look of your garden but also create a more stable and flat ground for further constructions. No wonder if you are interested in the retaining wall cost! The price of a retaining wall varies greatly depending on factors such as material, pre-existing conditions, soil type and much more. Prices start from 20 CAD to 110 CAD per square foot. 

What Is a Retaining Wall?

As it follows from the title it is a wall that can be made from different materials such as stone, wood or concrete blocks, etc. and it is used for various purposes. Depending on the situation a retaining wall can:

  • Simply beautify your front yard or backyard;
  • Prevent soil erosion to save your foundation from cracks and further costly repairs;
  • Improve drainage to divert water easier so your stunning lawn won’t turn into a swamp.

As you can see, a retaining wall has an impressive list of functions.But what about the price? 

It usually costs at least 4,000 CAD to build a new wall from scratch. It may seem costly, but this investment definitely justifies the price.

Types of Retaining Walls

Retaining walls can be made from wood, concrete, or stones. There are far more materials that can be applied if you wish to do so, but we will list here only main types.


The price ranges between 20 to 25 CAD per square foot. Wood retaining walls are relatively cheap and eco-friendly. It is a popular choice for gardens since it makes them look more authentic and nature-like. The only downside of wood material is that it is prone to water damage. That’s why you need proper drainage and waterproofing.


Here prices vary more, from 15 to 130 CAD per square foot. It is because various options are available:

  • Poured concrete;
  • Shotcrete;
  • Cement; 
  • Precast concrete.

Each type has its pros and cons. Thus cement is cheaper than concrete and shotcrete is one of the most budget-friendly options with quick installation. If you want to get more info — don’t hesitate to contact us and get your free estimate today!  

Natural Stone or Gabion Walls

Average cost is 66 CAD per square foot, depending on the materials used. Natural stone or gabion walls are an attractive and low-maintenance choice for retaining walls. They are constructed using locally-sourced stone and are typically quite durable. Natural stone walls tend to be quite expensive, so they may not be the best choice for those with a tight budget. 

Gabion walls are a type of natural stone retaining wall made from metal cages filled with rocks or other materials. They can be used to provide a durable and attractive retaining wall solution. Gabion walls are often more affordable than natural stone walls, with costs typically ranging from $21 to $42 per square foot.

The type of the retaining wall you may need, in its turn, depends on your soil. According to the studies there 4 main soil orders in Canada: 

  • Organic; 
  • Luvisolic;
  • Brunisolic; 
  • Podzolic.   

And all these types of soil may require building a retaining wall, especially if you want to build a pool or a gazebo on your property. Retaining walls will be crucial to ensure the safety of new structures and even your home foundation. Be sure to get a geotechnical report before constructing a wall to be sure that it will work for you. 

Factors That Influence Retaining Wall Pricing

Retaining walls are crucial in creating level surfaces on slopes, preventing soil erosion, and providing support for structures on sloping ground. They come in different shapes, sizes, and materials, and the pricing of each wall depends on several factors. A retaining wall can be a significant investment, and it is essential to understand the various factors that influence the pricing of a retaining wall.

Type of Material Used

The type of material used in the construction of the wall significantly influences the pricing of the wall. Different materials have different properties, durability, and costs. As we mentioned before, common materials used in the construction of retaining walls include concrete, brick, natural stone, and timber. The choice of material depends on the desired aesthetics, durability, and budget. Natural stone walls are more expensive than concrete walls, while timber walls are the cheapest.

Wall Size and Height

The size and height of the retaining wall also play a significant role in determining the cost of the wall. Larger and taller walls require more materials, excavation, and labor, increasing the overall cost of the wall. The cost of a wall is usually estimated by the square foot or linear foot, depending on the wall’s design.

Site Preparation and Excavation

The site’s preparation and excavation also influence the pricing of the retaining wall. The cost of preparing the site, removing vegetation, and excavating the area where the wall will be installed can significantly impact the overall cost of the wall.

Drainage and Backfilling

Proper drainage is crucial in the installation of a retaining wall. The wall must be able to withstand the pressure exerted by water, which can cause the wall to fail. The cost of drainage and backfilling also affects the pricing of the wall.

Complexity of the Installation Process

The complexity of the installation process also influences the cost of the retaining wall. A wall installed on a steep slope requires more labor and materials than a wall installed on a level surface, making it more expensive.

Site Accessibility

The accessibility of the site where the retaining wall will be installed also affects the pricing of the wall. If the site is difficult to access, the cost of the wall increases because it takes more time and effort to transport materials and equipment to the site.


The location of the wall also influences the pricing of the wall. If the wall is installed in an area with high soil erosion, the cost of the wall increases because it requires more reinforcement to prevent soil erosion.

Labor Costs

The cost of labor is a significant factor in the pricing of retaining walls. It varies depending on the complexity of the installation process, the experience level of the contractors, and the location. The cost of labor may also vary depending on the type of material used. 

Additional Features and Enhancements

Additional features and enhancements such as lighting, drainage, and landscaping can also add to the cost of the retaining wall. These features not only improve the aesthetics of the wall but also enhance its functionality.

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Like any other structure, walls require maintenance and repair to ensure they remain functional and aesthetically appealing. The cost of maintaining and repairing the wall over its lifetime should also be considered when estimating the total cost of the retaining wall.


How long does it take to install a retaining wall?

The time it takes to install a retaining wall depends on the size, design, and complexity of the installation process. On average, it takes between two and five days to install a retaining wall.

Can I install a retaining wall myself?

Installing a retaining wall requires specialized skills, equipment, and experience. It is recommended to hire a professional contractor to ensure the wall is installed correctly.

Do I need a permit to install a retaining wall?

The need for a permit depends on the local regulations and the height of the wall. It is essential to check with your local authorities to determine if you need a permit to install a retaining wall.

How often should I maintain my retaining wall?

Such walls should be maintained regularly to ensure they remain functional and aesthetically appealing. The frequency of maintenance depends on the material used and the environmental conditions. It is recommended to inspect the wall annually and repair any damages immediately.

Ready to Make Your Place Even More Comfortable?

Retaining walls are an important architectural element used to contain soil, water, and other materials on sloped terrain. Don’t try to save money on something this important, since poorly built walls can cause more damage than benefit. Hire us and get the strongest retaining wall at an affordable price.

Categories: Landscaping