How to Build Functional and Stylish Stone walls

Build Functional and Stylish Stone walls: Stone walls have marked boundaries and defined borders for centuries. From Hadrian’s Wall in Britain to Native American ruins in New Mexico’s Chaco Valley, well-crafted walls are still standing in countless places after a thousand or more years.

Today, stone remains an attractive and durable building material. However, few people build it themselves, partly because it is difficult to transport and heavy to lift. In reality, though, the process is manageable and fun—if you choose the right project.

The stone wall planter shown here is functional, beautiful, and relatively easy to build. It is designed to hide an exposed concrete foundation and provide a place to grow plants and shrubs.

We made the planter with flat fieldstone, which comes in sizes 1 to 3 inches thick and 8 to 18 inches tall. Fieldstone is usually sold by the pallet, and each pallet contains about 25 cups. For a 10-foot tall planter like ours, plan to use two pallets, and allow three or four days for the job.

To find stones, check with landscape and gardening retailers. If you live in the country, you can get a supply from a local farmer, but be prepared to pick it up yourself.

How to Build Functional and Stylish Stone walls

Prepare the space.

Measure 36 inches from the foundation and drive a wooden stake to represent the outside of the stone planter. Mark the outline of the wall by sprinkling white flour [1] along the stake line.

Excavate a 12-inch wide x 8-inch deep trench along the inside of the outline. Line the trench with large, coarse fieldstones. Attach the stones as tightly as possible [2], but do not overlap them.

Use a length of 4 x 4 to drive each stone into the soil to ensure that the first course forms a solid foundation for the stone wall [3]. This is the only course that must be pursued.

Start the wall.

Lay the second course bridging the joints of stones below [4]. Use long, flat stones on the corners. Do not use mortar for the first five or six courses to allow water to drain into the planter.

With three or four courses in place, arrange a string to represent the top of the wall. Drive stakes into the corners of the planter, attach the wire to the house, and stretch it around the stake [5].

Hang a line level on a string to create a level guideline for the top of the wall. Then mark the height of the wall on the stakes [6] and remove the wire until the final course is ready to be laid.

Ensure a good fit

Mix a batch of mortar in a wheelbarrow by mixing Portland cement, sand, and water following the directions on the bag of cement. Blend to a thick, smooth consistency.

After the wall is 4 to 6 inches above the ground, use a pointed trowel to apply mortar to the back half of the stones [8]. Move the mortar away from the front to create a drywall look.

To ensure that the stones fit tightly together, it is often necessary to use a small sledgehammer to break a corner [9] or interfere with spreading.

Continue spreading the mortar and placing the stones, overlapping the joints. After every three or four courses, check that the wall is smooth [10]. Use a sledgehammer to tap the rocks into alignment.

Finish things off.

Save the longest, flattest rocks for the top course. Spread the mortar over the entire width of the bottom course. Tap the stones to align them with the layout string.

Fill the joints along the top of the wall with mortar. The cleanest method is to use a mortar bag. Squeeze the mortar into the joints and use a putty knife to smooth the application.

Allow the mortar to cure overnight, then use a garden sprayer to apply a masonry sealer, paying particular attention to the top. The sealer will help prevent cracking of the mortar joints.

How strong are stone walls?

Stone has an average compressive strength of around 104.9 MPa, making it a better option than other materials in this aspect. The compressive strength is simply the maximum load that the rock will be able to withstand without crushing or breaking.

What were medieval stone walls made of?

Material. Stone walls are typically made of a variety of local materials, from limestone and flint to granite and sandstone.


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