Why These Retaining Wall Stones are Built to Last

Stunning beige retaining wall stones complimented by various types of greenery.

Hey there, homeowners! If you’ve got some sloping terrain in your yard or want to create a striking landscape feature, retaining walls are a fantastic option. But, let’s face it, nobody wants to invest in something that won’t stand the test of time. That’s why today we’re diving into the best retaining wall stones for durability. As a trusted stone supply company, we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, so let’s explore why these retaining wall stones are built to last.

Understanding Retaining Wall Stones

What Are Retaining Wall Stones?

Retaining wall stones are specialized materials used to build structures that hold back soil. They’re not just for practical purposes; they can also add a beautiful aesthetic to your garden or yard. Whether you’re aiming to prevent soil erosion, manage water runoff, or create level areas in your landscape, the right retaining wall stones are key.

Types of Retaining Wall Stones

There’s a variety of stones you can choose from, each with its own strengths. Let’s explore some of the top contenders.

Key Factors Contributing to Durability

When it comes to retaining walls, durability is everything. You want stones that can withstand the elements and the test of time.

Material Composition: Natural Stone vs. Manufactured Stone

Natural stones like granite and limestone have been used for centuries due to their inherent strength and beauty. On the other hand, manufactured stones, like concrete blocks, are designed to be robust and versatile.

Beautiful retaining wall stones with stunning natural scenery.

Weather Resistance

Different stones react differently to weather conditions. Some stones handle freezing and thawing cycles better, while others are more resistant to intense heat.

Load-Bearing Capacity

The ability of a stone to bear weight without cracking or shifting is crucial, especially if your wall is supporting a lot of soil or water.

Resistance to Erosion and Water Damage

Stones that resist erosion and water damage will naturally last longer, keeping your wall stable and looking great.

Top Retaining Wall Stones for Durability

Now, let’s dive into the best of the best when it comes to retaining wall stones.

Granite retaining wall stones against a stone path with small green plants.


Granite is a powerhouse in the world of natural stones. It’s incredibly strong and can withstand almost any weather condition.


  • Extremely durable and strong
  • Resistant to weathering and erosion
  • Long-lasting with minimal maintenance


  • Can be more expensive
  • Heavy and difficult to work with

Ideal Applications:

  • Large retaining walls
  • High-traffic areas

One of our clients opted for a granite retaining wall to create a terraced garden. Years later, it still looks as good as new, and they haven’t had to do any major repairs.

Natural retaining wall stones near a stone pathway.


Basalt is another excellent choice, known for its durability and attractive appearance.


  • Highly durable
  • Naturally slip-resistant
  • Great for structural integrity


  • Limited color options
  • Can be costly

Ideal Applications:

  • High retaining walls
  • Areas with heavy rain or moisture

A couple we worked with last year chose basalt for their retaining wall around their pool. They loved the natural look and the fact that it stays slip-resistant, making it safer for their kids.

Photo of beautiful limestone retaining wall stones with natural greenery on the right.


Limestone offers a beautiful aesthetic and decent durability, making it a popular choice.


  • Attractive, natural look
  • Good durability
  • Easier to work with than granite or basalt


  • Susceptible to acid rain
  • Needs sealing to prevent staining

Ideal Applications:

  • Decorative garden walls
  • Lower retaining walls

I recall a project where we used limestone to build a low retaining wall around a flower garden. The homeowner was thrilled with the elegant look, and the wall has held up wonderfully.

Sandstone retaining wall stones with rosemary plants planted in front.


Sandstone is loved for its natural beauty and reasonable durability.



  • Can be prone to erosion
  • Requires sealing to protect against weather

Ideal Applications:

  • Garden borders
  • Decorative retaining walls

Another of our clients had a sandstone retaining wall installed around her patio area. It added a charming touch to her garden, and with proper sealing, it’s been remarkably resilient.

Concrete retaining wall stones being built near a new construction.

Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks are a versatile, manufactured option that offers high strength.


  • Highly durable and strong
  • Versatile and available in various shapes and sizes
  • Cost-effective


  • Can lack the natural look
  • Requires proper installation for best results

Ideal Applications:

  • Large, load-bearing walls
  • Budget-conscious projects

Another of our clients went with concrete blocks for their large retaining wall. It was a cost-effective solution that provided the strength they needed to hold back a significant slope.

Comparing Natural Stone vs. Manufactured Stone

Choosing between natural and manufactured stone can be tough. Natural stones, like granite and limestone, offer unmatched beauty and longevity. However, they can be more expensive and challenging to work with. Manufactured stones, like concrete blocks, provide excellent durability and versatility at a more affordable price point.


Installation Tips for Maximum Durability

To ensure your retaining wall lasts, proper installation is crucial.

Proper Foundation and Drainage Techniques

A solid foundation is key. Make sure the base is well-compacted and level. Proper drainage behind the wall will prevent water buildup, which can lead to erosion and structural failure.

Importance of Professional Installation vs. DIY

While DIY projects can be rewarding, retaining walls are best left to professionals. They have the expertise to ensure the wall is built correctly and will last for years.

Large smooth retaining wall stones supporting a garden with small plants.

Maintenance Practices

Regular maintenance, such as checking for cracks, cleaning the stones, and ensuring proper drainage, will extend the life of your retaining wall.


Investing in durable retaining wall stones is a smart move for any homeowner looking to enhance their landscape. Southwest Stone Supply has a vast catalogue of different stones to fit your own unique needs. Whether you choose granite, basalt, limestone, sandstone, or concrete blocks, the key is to prioritize quality and proper installation. Your retaining wall will not only add beauty and functionality to your yard but also provide long-lasting stability.

So, what are you waiting for? If you’re considering a retaining wall project, go for the best stones that promise durability and enjoy the benefits for years to come!

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