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How to Build a Fieldstone Planting Wall

If you have an old timber-framed planting bed, consider swapping it out with an attractive field stone wall.

More in Outdoors

curved stone wall improves curb appeal of home
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Plan Project, Purchase Material

Determine the length, height and location of the curved planting wall. Take the measurements to a stone supply yard and select the material for the project. This project uses round field stone for the wall. Have the yard deliver the material to the project site.

mix up the size of stones to be used in wall

Step 2: Prepare Footing

Using a shovel, mark on the ground where the planting wall will be built. Excavate the area to a depth of 12" and a width of 18". Prepare premixed concrete according to manufacturer’s directions. Pour concrete into excavated trench and smooth with the back of a metal rake. Continue pouring and smoothing until the concrete reaches a height that is just below grade. Sink segments of rebar into wet concrete for added strength. Allow to cure.

dig footings for new wall first

Step 3: Establish Wall Height

Mark the desired height of the curved planting wall by hammering stakes into the ground at both ends. Tie a piece of nylon string tightly between the two stakes, using a line level to make sure the line is level.

Step 4: Lay First Course of Stone

Prepare premixed mortar according to manufacturer's directions. Trowel a generous layer of mortar along the base of the wall. Selecting field stones with a smooth face, begin setting the stones into the mortar. Continue laying the first course of stones, checking every few feet to ensure the stones match the desired curve of the wall. Adjust as necessary.

Tip: Mix only one bag of mortar at a time so that it does not dry out.

make sure stone faces match the curve of wall

Step 5: Build Wall

Apply a bed of mortar on top of the previous course and then set stones. Place the mortar slightly back from the face of the stone using a trowel. Avoid wall weakness by staggering the joints between previous and subsequent layers of field stone. Continue in this fashion until desired height is almost reached. Regularly check that the wall is plumb.

mix up the size of stones to be used in wall

Step 6: Lay Cap Stones

For the final course use cap stones, those with a smooth, flat top. Select stones that fit together neatly like puzzle pieces, pressing them into a layer of mortar. Work all the way down the wall making sure that the stones are as level as possible. Fill joints between cap stones with additional mortar, packing when done with a jointer. Once the mortar is almost cured, use a stiff brush to scrape off remaining bits of mortar.

piece the back and front caps together for variety

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