Sumo Gardener

18 Cheapest Retaining Wall Ideas

Do you have an area of your yard that slopes? Are you looking for ways to make this a usable space while adding beauty to your landscaping?

A retaining wall may be just what you are looking for. Below, I have listed some of the cheapest retaining walls you can build.


Ideas for Cheapest Retaining Walls

Cheapest retaining wall Ideas

Your retaining wall project is going to be a big investment. It sure involves a significant amount of money, energy and time.

So even before you start, it would be good to learn these facts to make sure you don’t overspend money and also to make sure that your time and energy are maximized.

Benefits of Retaining Walls

Retaining walls offer a multitude of benefits that can elevate your outdoor space. From preventing soil erosion to creating more usable areas, these structures play a crucial role in enhancing both the aesthetics and function of your yard.

Erosion Control
One of the primary benefits of installing a retaining wall is to prevent soil erosion. Retaining walls and stabilizing soil, preventing it from washing away.

Retaining walls provide strength to sloping landscapes. The walls prevent the downward movement of soil and rocks.

Increase Usable Space
When you install a retaining wall, you can create a level surface on a sloped terrain.  This can increase the amount of usable space you have to work with. These areas can include spots for gardening, recreational activities, or buildings.

Retaining walls can enhance the appearance of your landscape. They can be designed using various materials, textures, and colors to complement the overall looks of your property.

Structural Support
Retaining walls provide structural support. They help distribute the weight of the dirt and prevent shifting.

Water Management
Retaining walls can help manage water drainage and prevent flooding or water accumulation. They can be designed to redirect water away from certain areas.

Property Value
Well-designed and properly constructed retaining walls can increase the value of your property. They can improve the overall appearance of your outdoor space, making it more appealing to potential buyers.

When constructed correctly, even the cheapest retaining walls can have a long lifespan. They can withstand gravity, soil pressure, and water without significant deterioration, or damage.

Retaining walls can be designed and built in various shapes, sizes, and styles. This versatility allows you to customize the layout to match the overall design of your outdoor decor.

18 Inexpensive Retaining Wall Ideas

Below, you will find a list of 18 of the cheapest retaining walls I could find. These creative solutions will help you create a retaining wall without breaking the bank.

1. Railroad Tie Retaining Walls

Railroad Tie Retaining Walls

Using railroad ties as cheap retaining walls is a popular option for budget-conscious gardeners. The large, sturdy wooden beams are durable and efficient.

They can often be found at a low cost. When using railroad ties, it is essential to note that they are treated with creosote and should not be used for gardens or playground areas.

2. Recycled Brick Retaining Walls

Using recycled bricks is a sustainable and budget-friendly option. Bricks can regularly be obtained from construction sites or salvage yards at a lower cost.

Not only are recycled brick retaining walls inexpensive, but they are also visually appealing.

3. Wooden Log Retaining Walls

Using wooden logs will create a rustic appearance. They will blend in with the natural landscape. Wooden logs are a great choice for country homes and log cabins.

You can source the logs from lumber yards and fallen trees. The logs can be stacked horizontally or vertically. To prolong the life of the wood, you can treat it with a wood preservative.

4. Repurposed Stone Retaining Walls

Repurposed Stone Retaining Walls

Repurposed stones come in various shapes, sizes, and textures. This allows you to create unique and visually appealing retaining walls.

Using repurposed stones can be one of the cheapest retaining walls you can make. Stones can often be salvaged from construction sites for free.

You can also find stones on your own property. If you are unable to acquire enough stone, you can check with your local quarry.

5. Galvanized Steel Roof Panel Retaining Walls

Galvanized Steel Roof Panel Retaining Walls

Source: Houzz

Galvanized steel roof panels create a modern and industrial appearance. Using the roof panels as cheap retaining walls is a practical and affordable option.

The panels are durable and weather resistant. The galvanized coating on the steel helps to protect against rust and corrosion.

Galvanized steel roof panels are readily available and are cheaper than many other materials.

6. Recycled Concrete Retaining Walls

Using recycled concrete for the cheapest retaining walls is an environmentally friendly choice. Salvaged from construction sites, recycled concrete can create a sturdy wall.

You can enhance the look of the wall by using different-sized pieces and adding vegetation.

7. Wooden Pallet Retaining Walls

Wooden pallets can be used to create some of the cheapest retaining walls. Not only are they inexpensive and often free, but they also create a rustic and natural look.

You can enhance their appearance by painting or staining the pallets.

8. Poured Concrete Retaining Walls

Poured Concrete Retaining Walls

Poured concrete retaining walls offer excellent strength and stability. They are well-suited for a wide variety of projects, from short walls to tall walls.

Poured concrete retaining walls offer a clean and modern appearance. You can even customize the look with different finishes or textures.

Additionally, poured concrete walls require minimal maintenance and can withstand various weather conditions.

9. Recycled Pipe Retaining Walls

Recycled Pipe Retaining Walls

Source: Bob Vila

Recycled pipe retaining walls create a modern and industrial look. They will add an eye-catching and unconventional touch to your landscape.

Recycled pipe retaining walls are not suitable for very tall walls or heavy soil. However, they can be an excellent choice for smaller landscaping projects.

One of the main advantages of using recycled pipes is their affordability. You can often find them on construction sites at a low cost or even for free. This makes them an excellent choice for those on a budget.

10. Mesh Gabion Retaining Walls

Mesh Gabion Retaining Walls

Using mesh gabions for the cheapest retaining walls is an effective landscaping solution. These wire mesh containers are filled with rocks, creating a natural appearance.

The stones provide excellent drainage. With various rock options to choose from, you can customize the look to match your outdoor space.

Gabion walls are suitable for both small-scale and large-scale projects.

11. Recycled Tire Retaining Walls

Recycled Tire Retaining Walls


Repurposing old tires reduces waste and saves money. Old tires are almost impossible to get rid of. Instead of paying for disposal, keep your old tires.

You can also ask your friends and neighbors for their old tires. They will be happy to get rid of them. You can enhance their appearance by painting the tires or incorporating vegetation.

You can find more recycled garden ideas here.

12. Corten Steel Retaining Walls

Corten Steel Retaining Walls

Source: HGTV

Corten steel is a durable and stylish option for landscaping projects. Corten steel, also known as weathering steel. Over time, it will develop a rust-like patina producing a unique and attractive appearance.

It is a highly durable material that can withstand various weather conditions. It is a suitable choice for long-lasting retaining walls. Additionally, Corten steel requires minimal maintenance, making it a low-cost option in the long run.

13. Treated Plywood Retaining Walls

Treated Plywood Retaining Walls

Treated plywood is durable and easy to install. To enhance the look of the retaining wall, you can paint or stain it.

Treated plywood can be a great choice when looking for the cheapest retaining walls because it is both practical and cheap. Keep in mind that treated plywood may not be suitable for gardens or areas that are extremely wet.

14. Concrete Planter Retaining Walls

Concrete Planter Retaining Walls

Source: Deavita

Repurposing concrete planters for a retaining wall can create a modern and minimalistic look. You can paint or stain the planters to match your outdoor style, or leave them natural.

Not only do they create a striking retaining wall, but they can also be used for plants too.

15. Concrete Cinder Block Retaining Walls

Concrete Cinder Block Retaining Walls

Concrete cinder blocks are readily available and easy to stack. When stacked and bound together with mortar, cinder blocks form a sturdy wall.

The wall can withstand significant weight and pressure. A properly constructed cinder block wall requires little maintenance and will last for years

16. Boulder Retaining Walls

Using boulders for a retaining wall is a natural and visually appealing option for landscaping projects. The irregular shapes and sizes of boulders create a unique and organic appearance.

Being large and heavy, they can withstand a substantial amount of pressure. This makes them an excellent choice for retaining dirt.

17. Concrete Bag Retaining Walls

Concrete Bag Retaining Walls

Using concrete bags to make a retaining wall is one of the most unique cheapest retaining walls. To make a concrete bag retaining wall, stack unopened concrete bags, staggering the bags. Add extra support if needed.

Then completely soak the bags with water. After the concrete has had time to cure, remove any of the paper that is left from the bags.

18. Clay Pipe Retaining Walls

Clay Pipe Retaining Walls

Source: Lovecreekfarm

Using clay pipes to make a retaining wall is a creative option. The cylindrical shape and earthy color of the pipes will add to the overall look of the wall.

Clay pipe retaining walls will allow for some drainage while retaining the dirt. This method is suitable for smaller-scale projects or decorative features.

Wrapping Up Our Cheapest Retaining Wall Ideas

When it comes to landscaping on a budget, you probably want to look at the cheapest retaining walls. From recycled materials like broken concrete and wooden pallets to natural options like logs and boulders, there is a cost-effective solution for every outdoor space.

By considering your needs and aesthetics, you can create an inexpensive and functional retaining wall. These budget-friendly choices will not only save you money but also add to the sustainability of your landscape.

So, whether you're tackling a small garden project or a larger issue, remember the cheapest retaining walls might just be the right choice.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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Leave a Comment:

Ruby Nix says July 29, 2020

I am wondering what type of fencing is used in the rock inside of fence retaining wall ??

    Ann says August 1, 2020

    Thanks for your question!

    Rock and wire box retaining walls, also known as Gabion retaining walls, are made using wire baskets or cages made of industrial-strength, zinc-coated steel wire.

    This is usually slightly flexible as well as very strong and durable, helping to contain the rocks, hold up the structure of the wall, and withstand weather.

    You can learn more about it here:


    The Sumo Team

Julie Dallas says August 11, 2021

Great Post, love the detail. A lot of times people hire companies to do it, but it can be a fun little project that you could save a lot of money on.

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