What should I budget for a retaining wall in 2023?

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Picture of Natasha Maerz

Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager

In the Fraser Valley we see a lot of old retaining walls that are failing and need to be replaced. Whether they are wood or concrete, a failing retaining wall will need to be replaced before it falls down and potentially causes damage to surrounding areas, or even worse, your home or patio structure.

Here at Back 40 Landscaping, we specialize in building retaining walls. All of our staff are Allan Block trained and certified.

If you are looking to have a retaining wall replaced in the Fraser Valley in 2023, we would love to give you some pointers on how to budget for your retaining wall project.

 

Difference in Retaining Wall  prices

What type of crew is coming to work on your project? Is it one guy in a pick-up truck with a shovel and wheelbarrow that will take months for your project to complete?

Does the company you are considering have any training in building retaining walls? Do they understand what retaining walls need permits and engineering?

These are all things that need to be considered before hiring a retaining wall builder based on price.

 

Figuring out your Retaining wall budget

Retaining walls are built based on how long and how high the wall is. While usually those measurements cannot be changed (unless a homeowner is strictly wanting to put a wall up for a focal point and not for anything structural) there are ways that a price of a project can drive the cost of a retaining wall down.

Things that drive the cost of a retaining wall down

  •  Wide open site allowing bigger or more efficient equipment
  • No existing retaining wall requiring demolition
  • No fencing in or around retaining wall
  • No detailed landscape in front or behind wall ( flower beds, walkways) 
  • Not needing surface protection
  • Wall being built prior to finished outdoor space landscape, and not have to tidy up from wall construction
  • No excavation surprises
  • Soil conditions: Water permeable soil that reduces the need for Geogrid, or as much gravel as normal
  • A nearby proper drainage system that can accept the water from behind the wall

 

 

Things that can drive the retaining wall price up are

  • Limited space that doesn’t allow heavy equipment or material stockpiling
  • Any demolition of an old wall ( wood retaining wall or concrete retaining wall), fencing, or landscape
  • Structural support design for fencing installed near any part of the wall
  • Working around detailed landscaping that needs to be fixed afterwards
  • Protecting surfaces in excess of 100’ (laying down plywood to drive on)
  • If preventing damage is not practical then thorough remediation after project is complete
  • Buried and unexpected finds underground (although rare its worthy of a mention)
  • Soil conditions: Geogrid may be required for walls higher than 13” in clay soils
  • Length or complication of tying proper drainage system into appropriate source (storm drain, sump basin etc.)

 

allan-block-retaining-wall-outside-corner-cut

Compare your Retaining wall budget to what you are looking to get

Are you moving soon and just want to replace your failing wall because your realtor suggested it? Or is this your forever home and you look at your wall every single day?

Asking yourself these questions will help you figure out what type of budget you want to spend on your retaining wall.

Is your retaining wall project a “construction project, or a landscaping project?”

Figuring out what you want your project to “be” (construction or landscape) will help you understand what you will potentially be spending on a retaining wall project.

What is the different between a construction project and a landscaping project?

For a construction project you would be looking at having your retaining wall built with no “extras”.

The contractor would bring machines in and out of your space without protecting the grass or plants that are already there, and when they leave the wall will be built, with the homeowner’s job being remedying the grass, whether that be using sod or seed, and any other things they wanted to do to spruce up the space.

A landscape project would be having a retaining wall built with all the bells and whistles.

The grass and surrounding areas would be protected, and the end result would be a retaining wall built with plants, flowers, lighting, stairs and whatever the homeowner wants.

 

The difference in these two projects is the end result and the price. Protecting the space and adding plants and flowers and lighting is going to take more time and more funds to achieve.

So, What does an Allan Block retaining wall cost in 2023?

The average price for a small retaining wall that is 25 ft long and 4 ft high starts at $15k

The average price for an average retaining wall that is 80 ft long and 4 ft high starts at $40k

The average price for a Large  retaining wall that is 100 ft long, 4 ft high and terraced with a staircase starts at $80k

Keep in mind that these prices are ballpark prices, as access to the space, add ons, whether your wall will need permits and engineering, and what type of retaining wall you would like all affect how much the wall is going to cost.

To budget for your retaining wall in 2023, we advise homeowners to figure out what they want out of their wall as far as additions go, what they want out of the contractor that is building there retaining wall and then how much they want to spend.

Once a budget is established you can work with your contractor to see if your budget is realistic, and what can be done to get close to your top price that you feel comfortable spending on a retaining wall.