How To Build A Dry Stone Wall
Tools and Materials:
Hammer, Folding Ruler, Carpenters Level, Pick & Shovel,
String Line, Selected Stone
First Calculate Amount of Stone Required:
Determine the length, the height, and
the width of the wall in feet. If
the wall is two feet high or less, build your wall about one foot wide.
To assure a structurally sound wall higher than two feet, make sure the
base of the wall is equal to half of the height.
Next calculate how much stone is needed. Suppose
the wall is 45 feet long, two feet high, and one foot wide.
2 x 1 = 90 Cubic Feet of Wall
One ton of stone will build about 15 cubic feet of wall
Divide 90 Cubic Feet by 15 Cubic Feet per
Ton = 6 Tons of Stone
About six tons of stone will complete this project.
Purchasing a little extra for good selection is helpful but not
Next Construct Your Wall:
Dig a trench about 12 wide or wider
depending on the selected stone. Be
sure the trench is at least 3 deep for walls two feet and less, up to 6
deep for walls four feet height. No
footing is required with dry stone walls.
Place your largest stone in the trench as tightly as possible.
Lay all stones flat and level. If
there is a slope to your wall, be sure to begin the wall at its lowest point
As you begin to build your wall, be sure to avoid continuous horizontal and
vertical joints. This type of joint
is unsightly and less structurally sound.
Place the stones tightly together, and fill in behind your wall with dirt or
gravel and compact it as you go.
As the wall rises in height, be sure to batter or slope back the wall no more
than 2 for every foot of height. To batter the wall, stand level on end and measure the face
of the wall.
When building a dry stone wall that will retain a grade or sloped hill, be sure
to use some of the stones as bond stones. This
is accomplished by turning a long stone into the hill every now and then. This
will help anchor and stabilize the wall for better durability.
best appearance, save some of the nice flat stones to cap off the top of the