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How To Build a Stone Patio and Curved Stone Wall

An ordinary backyard gets transformed with an ideal space for outdoor dining and entertaining.

More in Outdoors

  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $2,500 - $5,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Mark Out the Design

Mark out both the patio and wall dimensions. Dig down 6 to 8 inches for the base of the patio and put in 3 to 4 inches of compacted gravel or crushed stone, followed by an inch of leveled and screeded concrete sand.

Step 2: Begin Setting the Patio Stone

Piece the stone together to minimize the width of joints. If a stone needs to be cut, it can be shaped to size with a chipping hammer. Level each stone and push it into the sand by hammering it with the rubber mallet. Fill in the joints with your choice of P-gravel, sand or mulch, or concrete sand.

Step 3: Set the Base for the Patio

For the stone patio, dig down, then mix and spread a 6-inch concrete footing for both walls. Allow the footing to set up overnight, then begin setting stone. If you live in an area prone to frost heaves, add rebar for strength and stability.

Step 4: Add the Mortar

Mix up a batch of mortar. If you're using accent boulders, make sure you know where they're ultimately going to be placed. You’ll set the boulders while you’re building up the wall. Using a trowel, spread a layer of mortar on top of the concrete footing. Begin setting stone. As you work, use stones of different sizes and break the joints. If a stone isn't the shape you want it, use a chipping hammer or stone hammer and chisel to shape it to size.

Step 5: Cap the Wall

You can use a piece of string stretched between two pieces of rebar to establish the height of your wall. Make sure that your last course of stone evenly meets the height of that string. Once the wall is at the desired height, you are ready to cap the wall. Dry lay your stones first to determine cuts. Then you can either make the cuts using a diamond-blade grinder or take them to a quarry to have them cut. Set the stones on a bed of mortar and, using a level and the rubber mallet tap them into the mortar until there is a strong bond and the stone is level. Finish up by filling the joints with jointer.

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