dcsimg
Find Local Contractor Call: 844-251-6308
No Obligation, Free Quotes
Home > Yard & Garden > Building a Stacked Stone Wall

Building a Stacked Stone Wall

By Brett Freeman
Building a Stacked Stone Wall

Dry stacked stone retaining walls are popular landscaping features because they're relatively easy to build, and they provide a sharp, natural looking border to planting beds. But stacked stone walls that aren't properly designed can be more trouble than they're worth. They can be prone to collapsing and constantly in need of re-stacking. To avoid the pitfalls, here are a few things to keep in mind when you build a stacked stone retaining wall.

  • It Needs to Lean. Imagine that you're trying to hold up a wall. What do you do? You brace your hands against it, and then lean into it. You should follow the same principle when you build a stacked stone wall. Your wall may be required to hold back thousands of pounds of soil. It needs to have one inch of lean into the hill for every 12 inches of vertical height.
  • The Basics About the Base. You want your stacked stone wall to sit in the ground, not on it. Begin by digging a four-inch trench where the wall is going to sit. Add two inches of gravel and put the first layer of stone on top of the gravel.
  • Backfill as You Go. Add backfill after every two layers of stone. As a general rule, you want the bottom third of the backfill to be gravel, which helps both with stability and drainage. Before putting down the first layer of gravel, put down landscape fabric at the base of the wall. You want the width of the fabric to be about three times the anticipated total height of your gravel backfill layer. When you've completed the gravel backfill, wrap the excess fabric over the top of it. This prevents soil from getting into the gravel, which can hinder drainage. Tamp down each layer of gravel as you add it.
  • Keep it Anchored. Probably the most common mistake people make when building a dry stacked stone wall is that they don't anchor it. To do this, go through your stone pile and pick out rocks that are particularly long and narrow. Starting with your third row of stones, and then every three layers after, place these stones every six feet or so, positioning them so their narrow side is flush with the front of the wall, and the long side juts out perpendicular to the wall, into the slope.
  • Fill In the Gaps. Anothercommon mistake is to leave gaps in the wall when stones don't fit together perfectly. The problem is that dirt works its way into these gaps, followed by roots. Think about the damage that weeds do to concrete when they start growing in sidewalk cracks. You don't want that happening to your wall. Although tedious, it's definitely worth the effort to fill in gaps with smaller chunks of stone when building your retaining wall.

It takes a lot of work to build a dry stacked stone wall. By building it right the first time, you can make sure you only have to put the work in once.

John D. Wagner Engineering a Retaining Wall
http://www.thisoldhouse.com
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,219681,00.html
Find a Local Landscaper
Enter Your Zip Code:


THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' WITH NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. THE AUTHOR, THE SITE OWNER AND ITS AFFILIATES ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS CONTAINED THEREIN OR FOR ANY USE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT. The article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.