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stone wall

How to Build a Stone Wall

Benjamin Kilbride, Editorial Assistant at The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Learn the simple method of building a stone wall!

Why Build a Stone Wall?

Stone walls add character to your yard or garden and define property boundaries, and are useful as retaining walls and basic foundations.   

The Basic Stone Wall Method

Remember this phrase: One over two, two over one. What this means is to always offset a new layer of stones over the joints (the cracks between stones) of the stones below. The layering method helps to strengthen the wall by not leaving any stone without support from another. You don’t need cement or stones of the same dimension to build a wall—they can be any size or shape!

Where to Find Stones

Depending on where you live, you can find stones (both large and small) by lakes and rivers, in sand pits, and on your own property. If you want a more uniform look to your stone wall, you can purchase pavestones or bricks using the same method. 

Lay and Plan a Path

Use small stones to create short walls to line paths through your garden. A garden path defines the route to be taken and how the viewer should see the garden. It sets the tone, pace, and energy for visitors walking through—inviting them to the entrance and guiding them through each section and around bends and curves.

Set the overall tone of the path by first deciding where you will enter the garden; pick a spot that can tolerate heavy traffic to and from the garden (e.g., packed dirt, gravel, or brick). Avoid lawns and low areas where water pools. Next, plan the direction of the path. Will it go directly from point to point or will it meander gently around garden beds and flower plots? Last, decide where you will exit the garden. Will it be opposite from the entrance? Or will it loop to form a cul-de-sac, turning the entrance into an exit as well? Map out the entire path on paper before picking up a shovel, and have fun!


Old Farmer's Almanac