Retaining Walls Brisbane

September 5, 2022

Cost of building a retaining wall in Brisbane

A retaining wall using concrete sleepers block has become one of the most popular materials for building retaining walls. However, it's the design and colour options that make it so popular.
Plus, it is engineered with a backward sloping profile, making it one of the few materials specifically designed for retaining walls.


retaining walls

Concrete sleeper retaining walls do not rot and do not require much maintenance other than occasional cleaning. In addition, the sleeper's materials are inexpensive to purchase and manufacture. However, transportation is the highest cost of retaining wall blocks, as they are very heavy.

Larger decorative retaining wall segments are more expensive than smaller ones. However, larger blocks and sleepers can hold more soil and can be built higher. In addition, their surfaces can be textured for decorative purposes.

The cost of the retaining wall blocks is the most significant part of the total cost of the retaining wall. The 17-inch decorative sleepers and blocks cost about $570 per pallet, covering almost 35 square metres of wall surface: about $12 per block.

At the lower end of the price scale, a plain grey concrete retaining wall block, also 17 inches, can cost about four times less than a decorative block: only $3.40 per block.

Labour costs for retaining walls

In addition to the cost of materials, the second - and sometimes the most essential - part of the price equation is the cost of labour to build the retaining wall.

Typically, structural landscapers are the contractors you should employ and will provide you with an estimate that includes the labour cost.
Labour to build a retaining wall costs between $50 and $75 per hour. If the project requires the consultation of a structural engineer, hourly rates range from $100 to $200 per hour.

Labour costs for retaining wall construction depend on the type of wall, the time of year and the current demand for labour.

Masonry retaining walls and timber retaining walls may require unskilled and semi-skilled labour to haul gravel, excavate foundations and transport blocks. However, load-bearing retaining wall projects are also often carried out by skilled landscapers who are licensed to build retaining walls that are higher than 1 metre in height, and they will supervise less skilled and inexpensive labour.

Placing safe and aesthetically pleasing stone retaining walls is an art and a craft best left to skilled and better-paid workers.

When should a retaining wall be built?

You should build a retaining wall if your property has a slope and you need to make room for a patio, pool, addition or another area that requires level ground.

Ground slopes that exceed 35 degrees can become unstable and dangerous and must be secured. This depends on the type of soil you have.

Retaining walls can be built almost any time of the year and in virtually all weather conditions. However, it can be challenging to dig below the frost line if the ground is frozen.
The retaining wall you choose depends on both your needs and your budget. Building a functional and safe retaining wall is crucial if you need to replace a retaining wall that is in danger of collapse or if a slope is dangerously encroaching on your property.

However, if this is an optional DIY project, you will need to decide based on the wall's appearance and your budget. Walls that are low enough can be built even by DIY.

retaining wall walls

What is the cheapest type of retaining wall?

Timber and masonry blocks are the two cheapest materials for building retaining walls. For timber, 100 square metres of railway sleepers or six by six metres of pressure-treated wood can cost between $1,000 and $1,200 if you do it yourself and between $2,200 and $4,600 for a taller wall installed by a professional.

You can install small, 100-square-metre concrete blocks for between $1,000 and $2,300. Larger decorative blocks installed by retaining wall builders will cost between $2,200 and $4,000.

What is the easiest way to build a retaining wall?

The easiest way to build a retaining wall is with blocks no taller than 1 metre, a height that requires permits and inspections in many communities. If the blocks are cement, stack them on top without using mortar.

How long do retaining walls last?

This depends on the type and quality of the retaining wall, as well as the nature of the soil, water drainage and maintenance. Masonry retaining walls can last between 50 and 100 years. Timber retaining walls can last up to 40 years.

How big should the foundation of a retaining wall be?

For stability and safety reasons, retaining walls must rest on a stable foundation, usually concrete. As a general rule for sizing the foundation of the retaining wall, the foundation should be twice as wide as the width of the wall (measured from front to back). In addition, the concrete foundation itself should be supported by a 15-centimetre thick layer of gravel below the frost line.

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