Concrete sleeper, poured concrete, concrete block, timber, stone, brick, and gabion are the best materials for retaining walls today. All of these materials are commonly used to build retaining walls. Each one has its own distinct traits that can be used for various needs.

In this post, we’ll go through the top retaining wall materials so you can make an informed decision when choosing to install a retaining wall.

Type of MaterialAdvantagesDisadvantagesAestheticLongevity
Concrete Sleeper Can last up to 50 years or moreConcrete can look dullConcrete sleepers can make your garden plants stand outCombining concrete sleepers with galvanised steel H beams can make these walls last for many years
Poured Concrete Extremely durableNeeds expert help to buildPoured concrete is great for use in modern yardsTo minimise building or waving, the concrete needs to be poured perfectly
Concrete Block Can be used to create a range of designsConcrete blocks aren’t easy to change after installationHomes with mid-century architecture will benefit from these blocksConcrete blocks don’t have footing and can be unstable when not installed correctly
Timber Timber is easy to getIt can rot, warp, and hollow over timeYou can use timber retaining walls in almost any landscapeInstalling timber retaining walls properly could make them last for at least 10 years
Stone Stone is a sturdy material for retaining wallsControlling water flow in stone retaining walls isn’t easyCountry, colonial, and English-style gardens will benefit from stone wallsTo prevent retaining wall failure, it’s best to keep water from seeping inside these structures
Brick Can withstand outdoor elements easilyTime-consuming and labour-intensiveMatches traditional landscapesBrick will last a long time when installed correctly
Gabion No masonry experience or specific skill is needed to install these retaining walls for constructionRusting wires is a common problem with gabion retaining wallsCoastal and riverside homes will benefit from gabion wallsThese walls can move with the ground

How to Choose the Right Retaining Wall Material

You can choose the right retaining wall material by considering the following:

Desired Style

The style you choose for your retaining wall will make it easier for you to choose the appropriate material to use. For example, brick retaining walls will look good in traditional yards while concrete sleepers are ideal for modern homes.

Think About Water Drainage

Proper drainage systems in place are important to ensure your retaining walls will last for a long time. However, excess moisture can’t be fully avoided when it comes to these structures. It’s best to select a material that doesn’t break down due to the presence of water.

Retaining Wall Height

Finally, the height of your retaining wall has a huge impact on choosing the right material for it. Make sure you consult an expert retaining wall builder if you plan to install a wall that’s more than 1 metre above the ground.