Concrete Sleeper Retaining Walls: Cost, Materials and Labour

Retaining walls are an essential component of any landscape design. If you're looking to enhance the aesthetics of your outdoor space while also providing stability and support for your landscaping, a concrete sleeper retaining wall is the ideal solution. These walls are not only functional but also add a touch of elegance to any garden or backyard.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of concrete sleeper retaining walls – exploring the cost involved in building them, the materials required for their construction and the labour needed to bring these structures to life.

Budgeting for Your Concrete Sleeper Retaining Wall

Cost considerations

When it comes to installing a concrete sleeper retaining wall, cost is often one of the first things that come to mind. The good news is that these walls are an affordable option compared to other types of materials like timber or stone. Concrete sleepers themselves are relatively inexpensive and readily available in most areas.

Additionally, because they require minimal maintenance once installed properly, there won't be ongoing costs associated with repairs or replacements. This makes them an excellent long-term investment for homeowners who want both beauty and durability, without breaking the bank. (Concrete Sleepers Melbourne sells sleepers with a 50-year lifespan, which means you won’t need to fork out for new sleepers any time soon).

Retaining Wall Build Permit

In some cases, a building permit may be required to build a retaining wall. This will depend on the height and size of the wall, the complexity of the build and where your property is located. Building permits come at a cost, (you can find out the amount from your local council). In some cases, you’ll need to employ a building surveyor and/or engineer to assess your retaining wall plans and the site, which will add to your costs.

Materials & Equipment Required

To construct a strong and durable concrete sleeper retaining wall, there are specific materials that you will need. These include:

Retaining Wall Concrete Sleepers: These robust precast slabs serve as both foundation posts and visible face panels. It’s important to purchase high-quality, engineer-certified concrete sleepers if you want to be sure of their longevity.

Galvanised Steel Channels and Posts: There are a range of different steel supports that are used at different points in your wall to provide added stability. It is important to choose a supplier that provides steel channels that meet Australian Standards. Generally speaking, you will need either UC100 or UC150 steel posts.

Steel Post Caps: These protect the top of your steel posts, and create a more aesthetically-pleasing look.

Sealers: Sealers are an optional extra that can be applied to your retaining wall concrete sleepers. They provide added protection from the elements and abrasions. You can choose from clear sealers or coloured sealers to fit your landscape design.

Sleeper Grabs: Concrete sleeper grabs are used for lifting concrete sleepers for retaining walls. They have a lifting eye that can be attached to an excavator, mini loader or backhoe. (If you are hiring this machinery, factor this cost in also, and the grab can also be hired too.)

Drainage Aggregates: These aggregates are layered within the backfill material, allowing for proper water drainage. They help prevent the buildup of hydrostatic pressure between the retained soil and the rear surface areas adjacent to buildings/structures (if applicable). They also reduce the chances of damage caused by excessive moisture accumulation, especially during rainy seasons when groundwater levels rise significantly. This is crucial in order to protect the foundations and ensure the overall stability of the structure, reducing the risk of collapse.

Labour Involved

When it comes to installing retaining wall concrete sleepers, it's important to consider the level of expertise required due to its structural nature. Hiring professionals may be necessary, especially if you don't have experience in construction work. By bringing in professional contractors, you can benefit from their knowledge and skills. They’ll assess factors such as soil conditions at your site before starting the project, allowing them to customise the installation techniques to meet the unique requirements of your job site.

Enlisting professional help during the installation process can save money in the long run, as it prevents costly mistakes that may arise from DIY attempts gone wrong. It's also a complex job, requiring heavy lifting, so using professionals with the right equipment can remove the headache for you. In any case, check with your council as regulations can change between different councils.


Concrete sleeper retaining walls are a reliable and cost-effective solution for your landscaping needs. With the right materials, skilled labour and professional expertise from Concrete Sleepers Melbourne, you can create stunning structures that not only serve their purpose but also enhance the beauty of your outdoor space. So why wait? Contact us today to discuss how you can transform your landscape with our quality, engineer-certified concrete sleepers!