How Do You Build a Rock Wall?


Quick Answer

To build a rock wall, add layers of landscape fabric and landscape stones in a trench, and build the wall on top of the base using rocks and mortar. Use masonry string line tied between two stakes to ensure each layer is level.

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Full Answer

  1. Dig a trench

    Determine how wide you want the wall to be. Dig a trench that is 2 feet wider than that width and deeper than the frost line of your area.

  2. Line the trench with landscape fabric

    Lay landscape fabric along the bottom of the trench, and overlap the seams by 12 inches.

  3. Add a layer of stone

    Pour 3/4-inch thick stones over the landscape fabric, and tamp the stones until their height reaches 6 inches. Repeat until the height of the stones is 8 inches below the grade.

  4. Set up the marker

    Determine where the ends of each straight wall are. Insert a stake 12 inches away from the end of each wall and on each side so there are four stakes around each wall. Connect a string between each pair of stakes so the string rests just a little higher than the grade.

  5. Build the first row of rocks

    Set down the first rock at one corner of the trench, and ensure it grazes the string. Set down the next rock against the first, and ensure it touches the string as well. Continue until the first row is finished, and repeat along the other string.

  6. Fill the gap

    Use smaller rocks to fill the gap between the first two rows. Stack the rocks until they are level with the tops of the first rocks.

  7. Apply a layer of mortar

    Lay a flat layer of mortar on top of the first row of rocks.

  8. Add a second layer of rocks

    Move the string up on the stakes. Spread fresh mortar on the rocks with a trowel, and lay a rock on top of it. Tamp the rock with a mallet, and continue until the second row is finished. Scrape away excess mortar.

  9. Build the wall

    Add more layers until the wall reaches the desired height.

  10. Fill in the joints

    Use a brick jointer to apply and smooth mortar in the gaps between rocks.

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