How to Build a Natural Stone Wall


A natural stone wall creates a focal point in your yard or garden and also helps to create a border between driveways, yards, gardens and even properties. You can build natural stone walls to create retaining walls, fences and raised flower beds. Building a natural stone wall requires a bit of time and concentration in gathering and properly stacking the rocks to prevent the wall from easily falling apart.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Manual soil tamper
  • Field stones
  • River rocks
  • Fine gravel
  • Excavate the yard, garden or driveway perimeter where you wish to place the stone wall. Use a spade to excavate a trench 2-feet wide and 6 to 10-inches deep..

  • Check the levelness of the excavated area. Do not worry about the levelness of the length of the stone wall, as you may have to take the wall over sloped ground. Instead, place the level width-wise inside the trench. Move the level 1-foot at a time, checking the levelness and adjusting high points by removing more soil in those areas.

  • Tamp the soil at the bottom of the trench with a manual soil tamper. Pound the flat end of the soil tamper against the trench bottom repeatedly. Continue tamping until the soil at the bottom of the trench feels hard and compacted and resists shifting under the weight of your footsteps.

  • Set the first layer of stones into place at the bottom of the trench. Use wide, flat rocks if possible and fill any large gaps between stones with smaller river rocks or fine gravel. Attempt to use rocks with 3-dimensional corners at the corners of the wall.

  • Continue to add layers of rock to the wall. Try to match the edges of rocks to meet together. Continue building one layer at a time, filling in gaps with smaller rocks and gravel.

  • Create a flat top for the stone wall once you build the walls to a desired height. Use thin, flat rocks to cover the top of the wall and create a surface as close to smooth and level as possible.

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  • Photo Credit long fence image by michael langley from
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