More in Outdoors
Before you dig, have your utility company check for buried cables or pipes in the patio area. Using cords and pegs, layout the design in your landscape and make any needed adjustments. Dig a trench 4 to 6 inches deep and wide enough for 3 to 4 stones laid lengthwise, then add 2 to 3 inches of paver base, then compact with a tamper. Once you dig out the area you have planned for the wall, check that the trench is flat and level.
The first tier of stone is the most important; take the time to make it level so the rest of the wall will be too.
The wall will look better if you stagger the joints as you go and mix in different stone textures to give it a more natural look (Image 1). The blocks can be easily cut with a heavy hammer and masonry chisel (Image 2).
Use a construction adhesive to hold the stone in place and use masonry ties for extra stability. Twenty inches is a good height for a sitting wall and it can be capped off with bigger pieces for a finishing touch.
Columns on either end will really add to the look and help define an outdoor living space. Build the columns at least one stone higher than the top of the wall. Try using stone block as edging for any surrounding flowerbeds to tie the look together.