How to build a dry stack wall

How to  build a dry stack wall

Dry stack wall surrounds the house

Dry stack walls have been around for thousands of years. People used the stone they could find or quarry to build. With dry stack there is no mortar. The way the stones are placed and hearthing give them their longevity.

A dry stack wall can be a beautiful and durable landscaping option. The one pictured is made of a blonde sandstone. Clearly it can handle winter snows and blue skies.


Step 1

Use wooden stakes and string to stake out the area for the wall. Measure the total area so the stone supplier can determine how much stone is needed.

Step 2

Prepare the area by digging a foundation. It should be six inches deep and level. Use the level to make sure the wall is started on a level surface. It will not remain perfect, but the foundation should be close. In cold weather areas 1/2 inch of pea gravel should be put down.

Step 3

Have the split rock stone delivered to the home. They are measure in tons and shipped on pallets. Split rocks are hand split and come in varied shaped. They are somewhat flat and are three to four inches thick.

Step 4

Now it is like putting a random puzzle together. Once the foundation row is completed it is time to begin hearthing.

Small stones are packed into the cracks between the large split rock. This is one by hand. Using a hammer would shake things up and ruin the level the foundation.

Step 5

The strength of the dry stack wall comes by overlapping the seams. It takes a bit of organized work and selecting the right stones. Keep a chissel and hammer close by if things need to be sized. It is not meant to be completely even, but have a natural appearance. Hearthing should take place on every row.

Step 6

A free standing dry stack wall should never be over three feet high. The wall is make with the 6 and 1 rule. For every 6 inches of vertical there will be 1 inch of width reduced.

Things Needed
• gloves
• stakes
• string
• shovel
• level
• split rock (sandstone)
• hammer
• chisel

Tips & Warnings
• Stand back often while working so the wall can be seen from a distance.
• Remember, natural stone does not give exact measurements.
• If it is built too high it will fall.
• Lift with the knees.


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