With sufficient drainage, stone, brick, or concrete-block walls are strong and long lasting. You can buy these materials at stone yards and home centers, but you'll likely need a mason to install them. Mortared walls rest on a rebar-reinforced concrete footing set below the frost line and require weep holes to relieve soil pressure. Mortar-free dry-stacked stone walls need only a crushed-stone footing.
Cost: Fieldstone, $11 per square foot uninstalled; The Stoneyard