Build Stone Wall Borders for Your Garden

What You'll Need
Assortment of rough stones

Build a stone wall to border a garden space. Adding depth to a garden bed is a great way to help turn packed soil into a loose, rich, compost-filled growing area. Stone walls add also add value to your home, both aesthetically and in terms of equity. To build a solid, attractive stone wall around your garden beds, you do not need mortar and perfectly cut stones. On the contrary, the proper arrangement and stacking of oddly shaped stone not only is strong, but it provides a rustic look as well.

Step 1: Lay Out the Stone Wall

Determine where the border wall surrounding your garden should be. If there is a definite starting point, such as where grass becomes soil, the borders may already be in place. Otherwise, decide the parameters of the garden and the stone wall you will erect.

Step 2: Stake Lines

Set stakes in the ground at the corners of what will be the stone wall and run a string between them to visibly indicate the wall’s parameters. Make sure to set the stakes and run the line where the outside of the wall will be. Keep this line place until the wall’s first and second layers are down; this will help keep it straight.

Step 3: Level the Ground

With the shovel, dig out as much of the ground surrounding the garden bed(s) as is necessary to properly lay the stones. After digging, a garden hoe is a good tool to use to level out the earth. To be precise, set the level in the ditch to check your work. A stone wall looks better if it is level, even if the bed itself is slanted. By taking the time to properly level out the earth, the placement of the stones will be easier because you won’t have to struggle with any issues of evenness.

Step 4: Lay the First Layer

For the bottom layer of the wall, choose stones that are broad and as flat as possible. With rough stones you can’t be extremely choosy, for you tend to get what you get. By playing around with possible combinations, however, you can usually find something that works. If you have to, pack in a little soil below a stone to stabilize it. Choose stones that fit together adjacently–however roughly. Again, it won’t fit like a jigsaw puzzle, but you’d be surprised how closely some of them will fit.  

Step 5: Add Layers

On top of the bottom layer add 2 or 3 more layers of stones. In addition to making them fit together side by side, they should be stable on top of the bottom layer. As with the bottom layer, you can pack in soil or use smaller stones to stabilize any shaky stones. Make the stone wall as high as you’d like it, but three or four layers should do the trick.

Step 6: Fill in with Compost and Nutrient-Rich Soil

With the wall in place, you can shovel in as much compost and rich soil is necessary to bring the level of the bed up to the level of the wall. In this way you will create a nutrient-rich garden bed that is loose–perfect for vegetables and plants.

Bordering your garden space with a stone wall is an attractive and practical feature. It is relatively easy to do, requiring only a little intensive labor. Add the wall purely for decorative reasons or to raise up the level of the garden bed.