Budget-Friendly Retaining Wall Ideas

Landscape design with multiple levels and a stone retaining wall

Residential and commercial property owners living in hilly or sloping areas may need a retaining wall built partially around their property to stop soil or water erosion or to create a more level ground for other hardscaping projects. In some cases, retaining walls may be used to enhance the overall appearance of a landscape. 

Although retaining walls are essential, functional elements to have on a sloped landscape, they can be an expensive project to take on. The size of the wall itself, the materials used to build the wall, and the complexity of the project are all factors that determine the price of the project. The good news is that there are ways to reduce the overall cost of a retaining wall installation. 

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite cost-effective retaining wall ideas.

Create a Terrace

For lawns with a significant decline or slope, homeowners should consider creating a terraced retaining wall. This retaining wall style is not only aesthetically pleasing but also highly functional. They are primarily used to break up significant slopes in a landscape and prevent soil erosion over time. Terraced retaining walls are typically two-tiered walls made from brick, stone, or concrete and can be straight or curved depending on the existing design. 

If you plan to make your retaining wall installation a DIY project, be sure you consult with a structural engineer and look into your jurisdiction’s rules and requirements. For example, certain locations in Michigan will not allow you to build a retaining wall taller than three feet, especially if that retaining wall is installed near a road or in a front yard. 

Design a Unique Sidewalk Transition

If your home sits on top of a slope or small hill, building a retaining wall in front of it would be advantageous, but it could also be unattractive and block the view. An alternative to a traditional retaining wall could be constructing short, stucco walls on both sides of the pathway leading up to your front door. You can also visually enhance the transition from the sidewalk to the steps by planting flowers or decorative shrubs within areas of this transition.

Highlight Trees & Plants

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to highlight existing landscape elements, like plants and trees, you could build a charming cement, stucco, or rock retaining wall around the element you want to highlight. In addition to helping protect plant roots from forceful dirt and water runoff, small retaining walls will add new color and texture to your landscape and make your trees, shrubs, and other plants stand out. 

Build a Raised Garden

Keep flower beds safe from flooding and soil spillage by raising flower beds with a retaining wall. When you lift flower beds off the surface of sloping ground, your flowers are much less likely to be overrun with weeds and pests. Creating a raised garden with a retaining wall also improves drainage control and stops passersby from inadvertently trampling on your flowers.

Which Material Is the Least Expensive?

Concrete blocks or wood are the most affordable materials for retaining walls, followed by poured concrete, bricks, and stones. Each of these materials has advantages and disadvantages related to strength, maintenance needs, durability, and personal appeal. 

Get More Retaining Wall Ideas From Design One Today

You don’t have to manage your retaining wall project by yourself. The best way to save time, money, and stress is to hire a professional company like Design One. Founded over 30 years ago, we’re Michigan’s premier residential and commercial landscape design company. If you have several retaining wall ideas you’re considering for your property, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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