Step 1: Lay Out and Excavate the Area

man hammering stone into the ground
Photo: Kolin Smith
«»
At least half the depth of the wall's first course must be buried for stability, so you need to dig a trench before stacking the pieces. Allow for at least 1 inch on either side of the blocks, which you will backfill to keep the wall from tilting as the ground settles. Once you've laid out the trench, a level line acts as a reference point against which to check the depth of the trench. Using stones placed at the two ends of the wall as a guide, map out the width and shape of the trench. Add at least 1 inch on either 
side of the stones. Drive a stake at each end.
Ask TOH users about Fences & Stone Walls

Contribute to This Story Below

    Tools List

    • mason's line
      Mason's line and Line level

    • square spade
      Spade

    • tamper
      Hand Tamper

    • four-foot level
      4-foot level

    • mallet
      Rubber Mallet

    • mason's chisel and maul
      Mason's Chisels and Maul

    • brick hammer
      Brick Hammer

    • caulk gun
      Caulk Gun

    Shopping List

    Cast Concrete Block:
    Choose a block made specifically for freestanding walls, not retaining walls or pavers. To calculate how many blocks you need, multiply the length of the wall, in inches, by the height, and divide that figure by the area (length x height) of the side of one block. Add 10 percent to account for cuts and breakage.

    Paver Base:
    A mixture of ¾-inch crushed rock and stone dust. One yard covers 108 square feet 3 inches deep.

    Stone Dust:
    One yard covers 324 square feet 1 inch deep.

    Masonry Construction Adhesive