Types of Retaining Walls

Types of Retaining Walls


Retaining walls are a crucial feature and functional element in landscaping. From helping to prevent soil erosion to enhancing the visual appearance of an outdoor space, they offer many benefits and serve many purposes.

However, the various types of backyard and garden retaining walls can be confusing and knowing which one is right for you can be difficult – if you don’t know what to look for. In this article, we’ll help you understand the difference between the different types of retaining walls and explain why we recommend limestone blocks, so you can make the right choice for your particular application.

What are retaining walls?

In essence, a retaining wall is a solid structure that can be used to hold back soil, create terraces or level areas on a sloping landscape. They can serve a variety of functions: Preventing erosion and managing water runoffs being just a few practical ones. They can also help to segment an outdoor space and maximise its usable area.

What are the types of retaining walls?

1. Limestone retaining wall blocks

Many of the retaining walls in Perth and around Australia are made from limestone blocks, and for good reason. These hardy natural stone walls are highly durable and incredibly resistant to weathering – both sun and rain. In Western Australia, where the harsh sun and climate can be rough on our landscapes, limestone retaining wall blocks will continue to function and look great.

The team here at Remastone recommend limestone blocks to our customers. Afterall, limestone ticks all the boxes: Functional, practical, beautiful and reliable!



  • Can be more costly upfront to purchase and install (but should be considered a long term investment)


2. Concrete block retaining wall

concrete blocks

Source via trendey.com

Concrete blocks are another durable alternative for use in your garden retaining walls. Much like limestone blocks, their longevity and low maintenance requirements are attractive features. However, they don’t quite come with the same aesthetic appeal and natural beauty, which is why many of our customers opt for the natural stone.


  • Very durable and long lasting
  • Very little maintenance required


  • Lacks the visual appeal of natural stone


3. Concrete sleeper retaining wall

concrete sleeper

Source: @bdhexcavations via Instagram

A concrete sleeper retaining wall offers a lot of benefits: They’re strong, functional and cost-effective. However, they don’t quite offer the same sophisticated look as even concrete block retaining walls or offer the same versatility in aesthetics.


  • Cost effective
  • Functional and strong


  • Not as visually compelling

4. Gabion retaining walls

Source via trendey.com

Gabion walls are a unique alternative for use in your garden or backyard. Consisting of wire mesh containers filled with rocks or stones, they offer a rustic feel, bring a unique visual element and offer some aesthetic customisability.

For those of you looking for a rustic, natural look, gabion retaining walls are a good option. However, if you’re looking for a material that’s as solid and durable as can be, we still recommend concrete blocks or limestone.


  • Visually striking rustic appearance
  • Flexible in application


  • May not suit all landscape aesthetics



5. Natural stone retaining walls

natural stone retaining walls

Source via iStock.com

Natural stone retaining walls are fantastic visually. With a wide range of stone types, colours, styles and shades it’s easy to find the perfect aesthetic. But it comes at a cost – literally – in terms of materials and labour. Much like limestone, which itself is a natural stone, the costs of using stone for your retaining walls should be looked at as more of a long term investment rather than simply focusing on its short term cost.


  • Stunning aesthetic appeal
  • Durable and long-lasting


  • Labour intensive to install
  • Can be costly to purchase the materials

timber sleeper walls

Source: @residentiallandscapes via Instagram

6. Timber sleeper wall

Wood and timber is a popular alternative for retaining walls Perth wide. The visual appeal of having wood incorporated in a garden or outdoor space is intuitive, however the practical aspects of the material make it challenging as timber tends to deteriorate in the challenging Australian weather, especially compared with limestone which neither rots nor disintegrates over time.


  • Natural, pleasing aesthetic
  • Can be cost effective to install


  • Timber can rot and deteriorate over time

Which retaining wall is right for you?

Ultimately, when it comes to retaining walls there are many different options available. Each material and alternative comes with some advantages and disadvantages depending on what you’re looking to achieve and what your space needs. If you’re unsure which option to go with, ask yourself the following questions.

What is your budget?

Budgetary concerns are important in landscaping. While the durability and strength of limestone retaining wall blocks make the relatively higher cost more worthwhile as an investment in the long run, your personal financial constraints need to be taken into consideration.

What is the purpose of your retaining wall?

Some retaining walls are purely functional with no need to look spectacular. For other garden walls you want them to be visually appealing as well as practical. Thinking about your particular application will help you determine which of the many types is best suited to your particular needs.

How large does your wall need to be?

Retaining walls can vary not just in design and material but size. Consider how big or long your application is. This isn’t just about taking into account the cost of materials and labour, but also the importance of investing in high quality and long lasting material so you can save money in the long run.

What is your outdoor aesthetic?

Gabion retaining walls can look fantastic but do they suit your home design? Concrete retaining wall blocks can be highly practical but do they enhance the aesthetic that you’re going for? Your retaining wall can do wonders for your outdoor entertaining area or garden visually, so consider whether you’re aiming for a specific look or want something timeless that won’t be outdated, such as limestone blocks.

What sort of maintenance are you willing to do?

As we have pointed out, different retaining wall materials require different levels of maintenance and care. Natural stone, for those wanting to avoid long term maintenance requirements, is great for minimal maintenance and maximum impact. On the other hand, timber – while it is likely to deteriorate over time – can be a rewarding addition to an outdoor design aesthetic despite its maintenance requirements.

Remastone – let’s find you the perfect retaining walls today!

Retaining walls can play a crucial role in landscaping, in multiple ways.

We love nothing more than helping our customers achieve the ultimate results in their outdoor entertaining areas and we’d be more than happy to ensure your choice of retaining walls does the exact same thing. While we’re specialists in all things limestone and recommend this fantastic material as the best option for many varied applications, we’ll help you determine what’s right for you and your particular preferences.

So, if you’re still unsure whether or not limestone retaining wall blocks will suit your backyard or landscape, make sure to reach out to the team here at Remastone.