How to Build a Stone Wall

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required
  • Carpenter's level
  • Tape measure
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
Materials Required
  • Stones
  • Stake and string

Before You Begin

Below are the instructions to complete this project. Don't want to do this job yourself? Find a landscape contractor who has the skills and tools to do it right. Click Home Advisor, a free referral service that connects homeowners with local prescreened contractors.

  • Step 1 : Stake and dig

    Set out a stake and string line to mark the location of the wall. Dig a trench along the string line that's about 6-inches deep where the bottom of the wall will rest.

  • Step 2 : Lay one layer of stone

    Using the string line as a guide, lay the first row of stones about 1 inch apart. Pitch the stones at a slight angle, slanting from the outside of the wall to the inside and down to prevent water from washing soil as it runs down the wall.

  • Step 3 : Fill in spaces with soil and stone

    Fill in spaces with soil and stone

    Fill soil between stones and add about one inch of soil to the top of the row. Backfill each stone and pack it in firmly to avoid air pockets and loose soil. Pay attention to spacing between rows and fill behind the stones with soil.

    Fill in spaces with soil and stone

    Keep the rows straight by periodically checking that it is level. Stagger the rows so the stones rest between the two lower stones to spread the weight.

  • Step 4 : Insert decorative plants

    Insert decorative plants

    Leave spaces between the stones for plants to cascade over the top row or in between stones. Insert them as you build the fence.

    Illustrations courtesy of Vengeance Creek Stone