How to Build Rock Walls

Rock walls are designed to protect gardens and fields.
Rock walls are designed to protect gardens and fields. (Image: rock wall image by CraterValley Photo from

A rock wall adds authentic, natural detail to a home. It also has many uses. A tall rock wall will keep animals off your lawn and out of your garden. It will also provide a definite property line acting as a barrier between your lawn and your neighbor's lawn. Many homeowners choose to build their own rock wall. This is a project for anyone with a strong back and plenty of spare rocks on their property. Simple rock walls are built to any size and length, limited only by the number of rocks at your disposal.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Washed stone gravel
  • Mesh landscape fabric
  • Rocks or rock wall blocks

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Mark off the area where you wish to install the rock wall by digging a very shallow trench along the installation area. This trench should be less than an inch deep. It is just to clear the area of brush and make a clean line to follow.

Dig down into the soil about 18 inches along the area of installation. This trench provides a base and drainage for the wall. Fill the trench with washed stone gravel and then cover the gravel with a plastic mesh landscape fabric to keep soil from washing into the stones and clogging up the drainage.

Fill up the trench area with your largest and most stable stones. Each will be about a foot wide and and a foot long. If you are using masonry stone, simply install your first layer of the wall in the trench.

Build up the wall until it is at the desired height by installing slightly smaller stones up through the ascending layers of the wall. Work up to small stones that are the size of your fist but not smaller. Arrange the stones so each is stable and surrounded by a balance of similar-size stones.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are mortaring the wall blocks, apply the mortar between the stones as you would when laying bricks. Most rock walls do not use mortar, however some less-traditional walls use it to secure the stones.


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