If you have a garden with unused space along its border, consider building a stone wall that will not only add beauty to your garden, but give you some additional seating as well. Stone walls can be built from many different materials including fieldstone and slate. The easiest material to use for your first stone wall is flat stones such as flagstones and bluestones. While it’s possible to build a freestanding stone wall, this project is best left for experienced masons. Even if you’ve never done any stonework before, you can easily construct an attractive stone garden wall that will last for years by following the steps below.
Self-supporting, walls are the most secure and stable stone garden walls.
Self-supporting walls are the most secure and stable stone garden walls. They are also the perfect option if you want to create a rustic look in your garden, but don’t want to spend too much money on building materials. In fact, they’re very simple to build and can be done without any professional help.
Build a solid foundation by digging a trench.
The foundation of your stone wall will be the trench you dig to support the stone. The trench should be at least as wide as your wall, and deep enough to support it without sinking or heaving. Make sure that the ground between your foundation stones is level, straight and flat.
Mark the trench with a long 2 x 4 you’ve laid inside it, 1 inch from its bottom.
- Mark the trench with a long 2 x 4 you’ve laid inside it, 1 inch from its bottom.
- Dampen the soil around all four sides of the marked area using a garden hose or sprinkler. This will help keep weeds and grass from growing through your stones as you lay them on top of and in between these areas.
Arrange your stones in an out of the way location to find out how the rows will look before placing them in the trench.
- Place an old wood 2×4 or other sturdy board across two sawhorses to hold the stones in place.
- Arrange your stones in an out of the way location to find out how the rows will look before placing them in the trench.
- Use a level to check that each stone is level with its neighbors and also with the ground (or sidewalk). This will ensure that when you’re finished, your wall is straight up and down.
- Mark any stones that are too high or low on one side so they can be removed later if needed. Don’t worry about being perfect—if you use mortar between all of your stones, this type of discrepancy won’t matter once it’s dry!
Stack each layer of stones with the flat side facing outward for best appearance.
Stack each layer of stones with the flat side facing outward for best appearance. If you want to have the flat side facing inward, you can lay your stones on edge. This is typically done during construction of retaining walls or garden walls made from stone blocks.
You should keep a level close to you as you work so that it’s easy to check if needed as you build up your wall and make sure that each row is straight up and down. You can also use a 2-ft length of steel reinforcing bar or garden hoe as a guide for straightness in the center of your wall structure.
A level surface allows water to drain off rather than pool at the bottom of your wall.
A level surface allows water to drain off rather than pool at the bottom of your wall. Use a level and a spirit level to check for level at each step, checking the back of each stone as well as the front. It’s important that you also use an ordinary carpenter’s square to check for level at each step because stones can move slightly over time if they’re not properly cemented together.
Check the vertical level with a level while laying each row of stones.
After laying each row of stones, check the vertical level with a level while laying each row of stones. The spirit bubble or tube should be centered in the middle of its casing. A builder’s level is a good tool to use for this purpose. Once you have checked the vertical level, then continue to place the remaining stones until you reach your desired design height with an even amount of space between them.
Use odd-shaped rocks to fill in odd spaces.
Odd-shaped rocks can be used as filler, so you don’t need to spend extra time and money on stone that’s perfect for the job. Rocks that are not flat-sided, or have an irregular shape are great for filling in places where the wall will be visible and less important to look finished. Be sure to use rocks with different colors, sizes, and shapes so they don’t look too uniform.
Fill all empty space between rocks and between each layer with mortar.
Mortar is a mixture of sand and cement. It is used to fill the gaps between rocks and between each layer of stones. Mortar can also be used as a decorative element in stone walls, but it does not make up their structural integrity. Therefore, do not use mortar if you are hoping to build a wall that will last for many years or withstand significant pressure from soil or water.
For most garden walls, mortar is used only as a cosmetic solution: it fills the empty space between rocks so they appear uniform and solid when viewed from afar.
Stacking stone is not difficult but it takes time, planning and patience to achieve a pleasing final result
Stacking stone is not difficult but it takes time, planning and patience to achieve a pleasing final result.
There are two main ways of stacking stone: either by placing the stones on their sides (with the chamfers facing downwards) or laying them flat with the chamfers facing up. Once you’ve decided which way you want your wall to face, you can use a level to mark out lines where each course of stone will go.
Once your walls have been built they should be ‘capped’ at either end to provide a neat finish as well as make sure that water isn’t able to escape into areas where it shouldn’t be confined – this will prevent any potential leaks occurring in future years when there are heavy rains etc…
Building stone walls takes time and patience, but it’s a skill you can develop pretty quickly with practice. What’s most important is that you’re careful to build these walls on as level a surface as possible, so that water will drain off of them instead of pooling at the bottom. Another key component is using plenty of mortar to fill in the gaps between each layer and between the stones themselves, which will help keep your wall stable and solid. In addition to looking nice, retaining walls serve a practical purpose: they can be used to hold back soil if your yard slopes downward and prevent erosion. So go ahead—with this guide in mind, you’re ready to start building.