How do I Build Stone Garden Walls?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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To build stone garden walls, the gardener should draw plans of where the walls will be placed, dig a foundational trench, and lay stones one on top of the other until the wall reaches the intended height. The gardener may wish to make a detailed supply list in addition to his design schematics to guarantee that he has all necessary materials on hand before beginning the project. The stones should be laid as flat as possible during construction to help support the weight of the dirt that will be placed behind them. Some gardeners may employ the use of concrete, mortar, or construction sand between the joints of the stones to create additional stability.

Stone garden walls are typically easier to construct once they have been designed and planned on paper. Creating a project guide for the wall will help to determine where in the garden the walls will be placed, how high they will be, and how far they should extend. Based on his completed plans, the gardener can create a shopping list of the supplies he will use while constructing the walls.


Once the plans are complete and the necessary materials have been purchased for the stone garden walls, the gardener may begin digging a foundation trench along the predetermined location for the walls. This trench should be a few inches wider than the selected stones that will comprise the wall, and should be several inches deep. The depth of the trench may be determined by the height of the wall. Tall walls need deep trenches, while low rising walls may begin at a depth of 12 inches (approximately 30 centimeters) below the surface of the ground. Digging into the earth to lay the foundation lends support to the garden wall so that it can withstand the pressure of the soil and trapped ground water that will weigh against it after the garden bed has been filled.

The bottom of the trench should be leveled as flat as possible and layered with concrete or stone dust. This type of compacted base allows the stones to settle after they have been placed in the trench. The gardener will want to guarantee the stones are level with one another and may readjust the base material as needed to accomplish this goal.

Stones should be laid one on top of the other until they have reached the desired height for the wall. The use of filler concrete or mortar is not necessary when building stone garden walls, though some gardeners may prefer to incorporate these materials for added stability. Garden wall stones are typically of a sufficient weight to hold back the weight of the dirt placed behind them without mortaring them together. Some gardeners may include a layer of sand pressed directly against the backs of the stones. Construction sand is a fine material that fills the small joints of landscaping stones and, through compression, prevents them from shifting against the weight of the dirt.

The completed stone garden walls may be topped with a finishing capstone. Capstones are generally flat and may be made of poured, preformed concrete block. They may be laid directly on top of the final row of garden stones, and typically do not touch the fill dirt of the bed itself.


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