7 Inexpensive Retaining Wall Ideas | Cheapest Type of Retaining Wall |  Retaining Wall Alternatives

7 Inexpensive Retaining Wall Ideas | Cheapest Type of Retaining Wall |  Retaining Wall Alternatives

 Inexpensive Retaining Wall Ideas | Cheapest Type of Retaining Wall |  Retaining Wall Alternatives

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Retaining walls are an effective way to control slope around your property. The walls prevent erosion and water damage, and they also allow you to create additional space in a garden or driveway.

When building a retaining wall, the key is finding the right materials in order to keep installation costs low.

If done correctly, a wall can be completed in just one day and for less than $1000. These inexpensive retaining wall ideas will help you make an attractive wall that’s functional as well.

Dry-Stacked Wall Simple Retaining Wall Idea

The simplest type of retaining wall is an open-sided wall, also called a dry-stacked wall. This type of wall looks like a stack of lumber with the tops and sides cut back, leaving the ends unfinished.

The finished length should be about three times the width of the retaining wall. This simple style is often used as an accent to a garden or driveway. The wall adds character and dimension to a flat area.

Stone: Inexpensive Retaining Wall Ideas

A large retaining wall made of stone is an attractive option for a property owner that has a lot space at their disposal. Stone retaining walls are commonly found around gardens and in commercial settings.

The cost per square foot for a rock wall is $10 to $20, which is significantly higher than other types of walls. The amount of time needed to create the wall depends on the size.

For example, a 12-foot stone wall will take two hours to construct if it’s three feet tall.

Concrete Block: Inexpensive Retaining Wall Ideas

A simple concrete block retaining wall is an inexpensive option that can be created with basic construction skills and some simple supplies.

The wall needs to be at least three feet tall and three feet wide and it has to be poured on the property line. The wall works as a ledge, allowing plants or shrubs to grow on a portion of the property.

Mortar Wall: Cheap Retaining Wall Ideas

An inexpensive retaining wall using mortar is more effective and permanent than the dry-stack method.

This type of project is best left to professional landscapers, but it’s possible for DIY enthusiasts to tackle the job with proper instructions and a few tricks.

A mortar-based wall will cost between $20 and $50 per square foot, depending on the height of the wall.

Gravel: Cost effective retaining wall ideas

A cost-effective retaining wall uses sand or gravel to create a solid base for your foundation. This type of wall is also known as a crawl space or slab wall.

To start, dig a trench along the property line and fill it with sand, which is used to anchor the top portion of the wall.

A small amount of gravel can be added for texture and weight. Mix concrete and sand in a wheelbarrow to create a solid foundation that can be poured directly onto the wall.

Wood: Cost Effective Retaining Wall Ideas

Another cost-effective type of wall is made with scraps of wood, such as fence pickets, treated lumber or trim.

Any material that’s large enough to pass through an opening about two inches thick will work for this project.

Create a base by pouring clay along the bottom of the opening and then fill the area with soil. Place the wood slats on the soil and add concrete over them.

The wood will absorb the moisture from the concrete, adding strength and stability to your wall. Your finished project can be stained or painted for a more attractive look.

 Retaining Wall Alternative Ideas

1. Gabions

Retaining walls can be replaced with gabion walls.

Gabions are cages filled with rock, stone, or sand that allow water to flow freely down the slope while also supporting the slope itself.

These cages are linked together and positioned in such a way that they are slanted back into the slope rather than piled vertically.

Gabion walls are currently installed at a cost of $3- $24 per square foot.

Some pros of gabions include;-

-They can be used as a substitute for concrete or stone.

-Gabions are relatively easy to assemble and install.

-They are portable, and they cost less than concrete or stone retaining walls.

-They do not require any formwork because they can be placed on the slope with the help of gravity.

-They do not need any ground support because of their structure.

-They have no adverse environmental impact.

However, gabions are not always as effective as concrete or stone retaining walls.

Concrete or stone retaining walls hold the soil in place more effectively, and they can withstand more pressure than gabions.

Gabions are also less durable than concrete walls because the rocks that make up a gabion wall start to deteriorate over time.

If you decide to go with a gabion wall, be sure to install it properly and reinforce it periodically.

2. Geotextiles

Another option is to use geotextiles in place of a more traditional retaining wall.

Geotextiles are made from synthetic materials such as polyester, which is used to reinforce soil or fill in gaps in the earth.

Geotextiles are placed between the embankment and the slope so that they can protect it from erosion.

These fabrics work by keeping water in the soil instead of allowing it to run off downhill.

Geotextiles can also be used in combination with gabions. Some pros of geotextile include:

-They have the ability to prevent erosion and soil movement.

-They can be easily installed, and they cost less than traditional retaining walls.

-They are easy to dismantle and reassemble.

-They are highly effective in reducing soil erosion and water runoff.

However, geotextiles offer little structural support for an embankment or slope, so structures that use them must be built carefully. They also have to be periodically repaired or replaced because they degrade over time.

3. Stone wall

Another option is to build a stone retaining wall. Stone retaining walls are constructed using a combination of units of sand and concrete or mortar.

Stone retaining walls can be built in any shape or size; however, they must be at least five feet in height.

Stone walls offer better protection than other types of retaining walls because they can withstand pressure from changes in the slope and the elements.

The added weight of stone can also prevent soil erosion and water runoff.

Not all stones are good for retaining walls, so be sure to use durable and well-shaped varieties like granite and limestone.

Stone retaining walls are also expensive to construct.

4. Wood stakes

Wood stakes can be used in place of a traditional concrete or stone wall.

Wood stakes are simple structures that have an upright post and a horizontal beam that is used as the bottom of the wall.

The wood stake system has six feet of ground cover, which must be extended if the soil is weak or rocky.

Stakes are usually placed at a 45 degree angle, so that the side of the structure is parallel with the slope.

Wood stakes are an excellent option for properties that have limited space.

Stakes can be created in lengths that fit around trees or other shrubs.

5.  Reinforced Soil Slope

Another idea is to use a reinforced soil slope in place of a concrete or stone wall.

It can be used for retaining walls that are not very high or steep.

Basically, it is like making a mound of soil that has been reinforced with steel wires and mesh.

Soil slopes are much less expensive than other types of retaining walls, and they can be easily installed without any special machinery or tools.

However, they have a tendency to crack over time.

6. Wood and Aluminum Panels

Another option is to build a wooden retaining wall or an aluminum retaining wall using wood and aluminum panels.

Stainless steel mesh, fibreglass, or lumber can also be used as a base for the retaining wall. As far as the height of the retaining wall goes, it must be at least three feet higher than the average ground level in order to function effectively.

Wood and aluminum panels are not as expensive as stone or concrete retaining walls, and they can be easily built with just a saw.

They are usually easier to maintain and repair than other retaining wall systems. However, they do not offer a lot of structural support to the soil or embankment.

7. Cordwood Wall

Another idea is to use cordwood walls. Cordwood walls are made up of stacked layers of logs that have been cut down into smaller pieces of wood which can be no larger than 10 inches in length. They are often stacked parallel with each other.

As far as height goes, cordwood walls usually range from two to eight feet.

Cordwood walls are fairly easy to build and can be adjusted to fit around trees or other shrubs.

However, they can still be susceptible to soil movement and erosion.

8. Cement Block Retaining Wall

Another option is a cement block retaining wall designed using cement blocks in place of traditional retaining walls. They can be used in place of a concrete or stone wall at a lower cost.

Cement block retaining walls are fairly easy to build and they are available in many different sizes and shapes. They can be easily adjusted to fit around trees or shrubs.

Many different kinds of cement blocks are available, including “red” and “grey” blocks. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses depending on how you want your wall to look. Cement blocks have also been known to crack under pressure, so you will have to reinforce them periodically.

9. Synthetic Cementitious Materials

Synthetic cementitious materials have become popular alternatives to soil, sand, or stone as a way to support terrain.

These materials are essentially large bags filled with cement that are then mixed with other chemicals and water.

They are applied directly to the embankments that need support, and they harden within one day of application. This method is referred to as Direct Mounting.

Inexpensive retaining wall ideas FAQs

1. What is the cheapest type of retaining wall?

Wood and concrete blocks are the least expensive types of retaining walls, followed by concrete and stones or bricks.

Each material has advantages and disadvantages, such as strength, longevity, and appearance. It is critical for those who intend to build their own retaining wall to plan and research.

2. What materials are used to build inexpensive retaining walls?

The most popular materials for inexpensive retaining walls include wood, concrete blocks, brick, and stones.

Each of these materials has its own strength and weaknesses, so it is better to choose what you want based on your preferences.

3. How much does it cost to build a retaining wall?

The average cost for creating a simple wooden retaining wall is $45 per square foot of wall. The cost can increase if your project has more complications or if you add a stone or brick finish.

4. How is a retaining wall built?

A DIY retaining wall can be built by stacking wood or concrete blocks in a straight line and filling them with concrete.

This type of project is best left to professional landscapers, but it’s possible for DIY enthusiasts to tackle the job with proper instructions and a few tricks.

5. What kind of wall should I build?

The best way to decide on the type of wall you want to build is by considering your needs, the amount of time you have, and the cost.

6. What is the least expensive type of retaining wall?

There is no “least expensive” type of retaining wall because all of them have pros and cons.

It is entirely possible to build a successful retaining wall, but it will depend on your expertise and the materials you choose.

Most DIY enthusiasts prefer a concrete block option because they have strong, flexible, lightweight, durable and versatile walls. They cost about $7-$8 per lineal foot.

7. What is the cheapest retaining wall you can build yourself?

A simple retaining wall made of concrete blocks is an easy DIY project that costs around $45 per square foot of wall.

This type of project can be as simple as stacking concrete blocks until they are tall enough to suit your needs.

8. What can I do instead of a retaining wall?

Retaining walls are sometimes installed in order to gain more usable space.

However, it is possible to have a clean and beautiful garden without a wall, so you might want to consider other options.

These options include,a fence,gabions, shelter belts or simply retaining soil about the edge of your garden instead.

9. How long does it take to build a retaining wall?

Most DIY enthusiasts have their retaining walls built in around one week.

It will depend on the complexity of your design, and the number of hours you spend each day on the project.

10. Is a retaining wall expensive?

The average cost for building a retaining wall is about $45 per square foot, but there are also less expensive options available that offer great value for money.

A retaining wall costs an average of $5,700 to build. On average, you should expect to pay $15 to $60 per square foot or $25 to $100 per linear foot, with large, sophisticated constructions using high-end materials costing up to $120 per square foot.

11. Which retaining wall is more economical?

The most economical option is a stone retaining wall, followed by a cordwood retaining wall.

12. Where can I get plans for DIY retaining walls?

There are numerous websites that provide free and easy-to-follow DIY retaining wall plans with step-by-step instructions and pictures.

13. How much does it cost to build a simple wood or block retaining wall?

Depending on your location, the cost per square foot installed ranges from $10 to $35 or higher if considerable excavation, soil preparation, and backfilling are required.

14. Why do retaining walls fail?

When a retaining wall is unable to withstand the force exerted on it by the earth behind it, it will fail.

A retaining wall failure can occur as a result of insufficient wall design or faulty wall construction. That force may eventually exceed the capacity of the wall, causing it to crumble.

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