How to Build Stacked Stone Retaining Walls How to Build Stacked Stone Retaining Walls

What You'll Need
Stones
Spray Paint
Hammer
Stone Chisel
Shovel/Spade
Crushed Screening
Carpenters Level

Stacked stone retaining walls are a fashionably old, relatively inexpensive and intricately beautiful way of adding to the aesthetic appeal of your garden or yard. These walls have an element of irregularity and freshness which adds uniqueness and a sense of poise to your backyard or garden. Wood and concrete can also be used, but the most common retaining walls are made of stones of different types and sizes.

Building a stacked stone retaining wall is moderately simple, and using the tools and steps below, you can build a stone retaining wall all by yourself.

Step 1: Decide Where 

Before you purchase material or begin construction, it is important that you observe your house and decide where you want the stone wall. After these observation and decisions have been made, use spray paint to make a rough outline of where you desire to build the wall.

Step 2: Type and Size of Stones

There are various options available in stones, so you must decide the type of stone that you want for your wall and then purchase them. Stones for dry stone walls are available in three shapes: stacking (which are flat stones), field (which are round stones) or dressed (which are processed and finished stones). These shapes of stones are available in four basic types: cornerstone, base stone, mixed stones and cap stones.

Step 3: Calculate the Amount of Stones You Need

After you have decided on the type of stones you want to use, it is important to determine the amount of stones your wall will require. To calculate this, establish the dimensions of your planned wall, and make the purchase as per height, width, and length requirements.

Step 4: Construct the Trench

After purchasing the stones, adjust their shapes in terms of size and shape (if and when required) using basic tools like a hammer and a stone chisel. Once the stones are the desired shape, dig a trench for the base of your wall with the help a shovel or spade. Ideally, the trench should have a depth of 8 inches more and a width of 3 inches more than the planned dimensions of the wall. Crushed screenings can be used to fill up the trench, while a carpenter’s level should be applied to smooth the screenings and bring them in line with the adjoining ground surface.

Step 5: Making the Structure

Once the trench is set, take the stones to the site of construction and start with its formulation. To add a distinctive element, assure that the wall is formed with stones of different sizes, but at the same time, see to it that the large and heavy stones (capstones) are positioned on the top in order to provide firmness and steadiness to the structure. Place the stones as such that several cover up the entire vertical width of your wall, and when two stones are positioned together in a single layer, be certain that one stone in the topmost layer is positioned right above the joint. Also, it is recommended that relatively larger stones are placed around the edges, a tie stone is located after each 3 feet, and the gaps between the stones are filled with crushed screening.

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