How Long Does Wood Retaining Walls Last?

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When one decides to add a retaining wall to their garden or backyard. It adds a beauty appeal to the premise and is also extremely effective in terms of usefulness. You might question, though, how long a retaining wall will last? 

This article has a collection of different types of retaining walls and their average lifespan and materials. It will also shed some light on using the correct method on How the correct retaining wall can help you prevent soil erosion, improve the drainage movement and even change the whole look of the property. 

Regarding Retaining Walls

If you have a deep patio, elevated beds, hills, or dips on your property. A retaining wall is a wise addition. A retaining wall, when properly constructed, holds back an area of soil that would otherwise collapse or erode.

Retaining walls are usually made of natural stone, wood, brick, or poured concrete for a long-lasting effect. Retaining walls are commonly used to create an appealing effect for landscaping and design in parks, gardens, and private property.

Creating a small retaining wall is a fun DIY project. However, if you want a massive retaining wall, you’ll have to spend a lot of money and hire someone to do it for you. 

One must carefully prioritize construction material, drainage system requirements, structural codes of the building and zones, and overall aesthetics and choice before deciding on constructing a retaining wall. Depending on the material, soil, and groundwater, a permanent retaining wall can last 25 to 100 years. 

With this, one should consider the type of required material and maintenance for effective longevity and functionality. 

In case of overlooking maintenance or delayed repairing, the timber wall’s lifespan is reduced to 3 to 5 years. It is important to maintain the look and feel of the timber fresh. And it requires routine maintenance, and a solution like pressure treatment with chemicals, which helps in holding up the material. 

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How Effective Are Wood Retaining Walls? 

Garden and landscaping projects benefit from wood retaining walls because they add structure, stability, and natural beauty. They’re still a popular alternative because of their natural appearance (similar to American oak veneer) and modest cost compared to more expensive masonry and concrete retaining walls.

What Is The Expected Lifespan Of A Retaining Wall?

A concrete retaining wall can last anywhere between 50 and 100 years. On the other hand, a brick masonry wall can be expected to last at least 100 years, depending on the quality of the work.

We’ll go over some of the most common materials for building long-lasting, appealing retaining walls, as well as their typical lifespans, such as:

  • Stones
  • Woods
  • Bricks
  • Concretes
  • Gabions

This article will also address the common concern that many have over the durability of retaining walls or queries about plastic retaining wall sleepers. We’ll go through the issue in further depth in this guide. Keep on reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of retaining walls made of wood, concrete, brick, or natural stone.

What Is The Most Cost-Effective Retaining Wall?

  • Treated pine is the most affordable option.
  • Hardwood is more expensive than pine that has been treated.
  • The cost of concrete sleepers is higher.
  • The installation of Besser blocks is somewhat costly.
  • Concrete interlocking blocks are available in several pricing ranges.

About Wood Retaining Walls:

The look and feel of cut or new wood logs used to build a retaining wall have a certain allure. On the other hand, wood retaining walls often only last 25 to 40 years before needing to be replaced. Because it is inexpensive, generally available, and easy to work with, wood is popular for retaining walls. 

Furthermore, wood is a natural material that complements most landscapes. Wood, on the other hand, must be treated with a weather-resistant chemical to keep moisture out. For timber retaining walls, proper drainage is essential, and owners should keep an eye out for insects that may boreholes or cause structural damage.

Do Retaining Walls Need To Be Maintained?

Check on retaining walls regularly and perform any necessary maintenance to ensure their best performance and longevity. Look for indicators of erosion, such as loose or cracked mortar, loose stones, vegetation that could infiltrate the wall or displace portions of the wall.

A retaining wall requires sufficient ground cover for water absorption, so if any is lacking, replace it. Look for spots where the wall shifted or bulged and any areas that need to be refilled and strengthened. Conduct an annual examination at the very least to look for faults.

How Do You Make A Retaining Wall Stronger?

It’s critical to inspect your retaining wall to see if any spots require repair or strengthening. The base of a retaining wall, where it contacts the earth, is the point where it is most strengthened. Find ways to thicken and enlarge the base for added durability or add anchoring.

Is Drainage Necessary Behind A Retaining Wall?

Because a retaining wall is designed to be impervious to water, adequate drainage is essential to its long-term durability. If proper drainage measures are not implemented during construction, water pressure can build up, causing cracks, bulging, and other structural damage. 

It is important that the backfill is at least one-foot backside of the wall with enough gravel for smooth drainage. Installation of perforated pipe should be on the inside or at the bottom of the wall. Weep holes, if necessary, should be included in the design to allow water to pass through.

6 Great Reasons To Use Wood Retaining Walls

  1. Natural Attraction

Wood retaining walls have a lovely natural charm that makes the wall highly appealing. It is a beautiful material that can be used to add a decorative touch to any landscape or home. Your entire neighborhood will be envious!

  1. Affordability

Wood is less expensive than other high-end materials on the market today because it is a wholly natural product. Another advantage is that you can easily paint and re-paint your outdoor living rooms if you want to change the color scheme later.

  1. Durable

Wood retaining walls are quite robust and may last for a long time if properly maintained and cared for regularly (20 years or more in most cases). This implies you’ll spend less time renovating and constructing in the future.

  1. Erosion/Flooding is avoided

The purpose of a retaining wall is to keep a slope in place. This will ensure that your landscaping remains beautiful all year. One should hassle about the type of soil or your garden getting washed away while it rains. Installing a retaining wall will give you more peace of mind.

  1. Increasing the yard size 

Do you have a difficult-to-mow slope on your lawn? What about unused garden space? A well-designed wood retaining wall can assist level these regions, increasing the amount of usable yard space. It can’t hurt that the added natural attractiveness is also a plus!

  1. Completion of construction project 

Because there is no concrete or mortar to mix, installation is quick and simple. You’ll be able to put up your new wall sooner than you think.


Wood is a wonderful choice for creating retaining walls that are robust, beautiful, and economical. We hope you’ve learned enough about retaining walls, how to maintain them, and the benefits they provide. 

Consider how the retaining wall’s building material will affect its performance and lifespan. Retaining walls made of wood have the shortest lifespan, ranging from 25 to 40 years. Stone, brick, concrete blocks, or poured concrete retaining walls are the most durable, 50 to 100 years.

Choose the appropriate material for your retaining wall based on your aesthetics, personal needs, and budget. If you’re not sure about constructing a retaining wall, employ a professional contractor and follow local building standards and laws.