We can't get grass to grow in spots in our backyard due to a combination of dogs, trees, and shade.
Behind the house is a hill. A third of it has a retaining wall built with rail road ties. It has been there since before I moved into the house as a 5 year old which was 25 years ago. The other 2/3rds of that hill right behind the house have been eroding massively over the last 3 years to the point that you can see the foundation of the house, walls in the house are cracking and a ball on the floor will roll toward the hill every time (i.e., the house is falling downhill).

Now here is the big key: We are planning on moving, and we are on a shoestring budget.

Is my best bet to build a retaining wall that matches the other one? Should I do concrete blocks instead? Stone?

What is the cheapest way to do this that won't look horrible?

1 Answer 1


I've recently purchased used railroad ties from home depot for my own landscaping needs. They were the cheapest by volume that I could find about, $15 for an 8"x10"x8' (nominal), and if you want something that's going to match the worn look of an existing railroad tie retaining wall, well that's as good as it gets.

Concrete blocks will be more expensive and probably will stand out. If you're not going to cement and rebar them in, I also find blocks harder to get set in so they look professional.

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