How To: Steps to Build Dry-Land Stone Walls

  1. Sort through your stone pile and separate the largest stones. They will be used for the base course and as “key” or “bond” stones.
  2. Excavate soil for the base. Remove all loose material. Excavation depth should be a minimum of 6 inches.
  3. Install base material in trench. The material should be lightly tamped.
  4. Begin placing stones on top of the base. Work the stones into the base. Use the larger stones in your pile — this is the foundation for your wall.
  5. Place more stones on top of the base course. Set them back to achieve the desired batter. Use a batter gauge to attain a consistent batter throughout your wall.
  6. Place the drain pipe (if needed) in the bottom of the backfill area. Wrap the pipe in filter fabric to keep debris out. Do not place the drainpipe directly behind the first course of stones — this creates voids. Make sure there is backfill material between the wall stones and the drainpipe.
  7. Install filter fabric between backfill and soil to be retained. Use large landscape staples or pins to secure it and keep it out of your way.
  8. Begin backfilling. Backfill as you build your wall rather than pour the backfill behind the wall when it is complete.
  9. Continue stacking stones and backfilling. Place larger “key” or “bond” stones throughout the wall.
  10. Place the capstones. After you have built your wall to the desired height and backfilled, use the smaller, thinner stones to “cap” the top of the wall.

COMMON LANDSCAPE STONE TYPES
Process Rock type
• Igneous:
Intrusive Granite, Quartz, Diorite
Extrusive Basalt, Lava, Feather stone (pumice), Obsidian (volcanic glass)
• Sedimentary:
Sandstone, Fossil stone, Shale, Limestone
• Metamorphic:
Original rock type Metamorphosed form
Limestone Marble
Sandstone Quartzite
Shale Slate

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