Do you have any plans to work on the landscaping projects around your home? If so, I have a project that can be done in a day or weekend with a little planning ahead. I have gotten so many emails asking about the low fieldstone garden wall around the hydrangeas I posted about a few weeks ago that I felt I needed to create a post about how I built it.
How to Build a Fieldstone Garden Wall
The reason I never posted about how I built the garden walls before is because it is a project I DIY’ed at least 19 years ago. I went to a free workshop at a landscaping supply company. I remember it was on a weeknight so that landscaping contractors could attend. I was the only woman and the only non-contractor in attendance.
I have built six of these fieldstone walls around my house. Two in my front yard and 4 in the backyard. The one in the photo above is in my backyard.
I am no landscaping pro, but have gotten pretty good at building them. All of the walls I built have held up fine until this past winter when the crazy amount of snow and ice we had was too much for the age of the one in the front yard. It was falling into the bed.
The wall needed to be redone, so when I was cleaning out the bed for Spring, I took the wall apart so I could put it together again. It was much easier this time and took about 3 hours.
The reason I could take it apart and rebuild it was that I built the garden wall with fieldstones – no mortar was needed.
When I first built the wall, it took longer since I had to dig a trench and then wheelbarrow the fieldstones from the driveway where they were delivered to the garden bed.
I also have used Flagstones in the landscaping around my house. Flagstones are flat and cut to the same size – usually rectangular. I used them as paving stones to walk on around the pool and grill.
Fieldstones come on pallets. There are flat fieldstone pallets and mixed sized fieldstone pallets.
I have used both, but prefer the look of the flat smooth stones shown above. They are more uniform in size and height which makes them much easier to fit together as you build the wall.
I used Colonial Grey fieldstone, but they also come in a lighter rusty orange color called Laurel Mountain. These are mixed height stones.
When shopping for fieldstones, be picky. Pretend you are a contractor and ask to see what is in the center of the pallet. In every pallet I received, the center was where big and uneven stones were hidden. Some can be broken apart with a hammer and pick axe, but the rest are unusable for building a garden wall.
The hardest part of the project is literally getting the stones from where they are delivered to your home – usually your driveway and getting them to where you want the wall. Once the stones are where you need them, building the wall is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.
How to Build a Fieldstone Garden Wall
- Pallet of Fieldstones – the amount will depend on how long and high the wall you want to build will be
- Hammer and chisel
- Optional: Pea gravel and a bubble level
1. Dig a trench around the bed. You want it to be wide enough so two stones will fit side by side and about 4 inches deep. This will make a stable base.
2. Optional: Lay a 1-inch thick layer of pea gravel in trench – smooth it with the back side of a shovel to level. (I have only used pea gravel on one wall I built. I don’t have a photo of this step.)
3. Start to build the wall with the largest stones as the base. The stones have dirt on them because I just dug them up to rebuild the wall.
4. As you build each layer – try to find stones that will fit together. Use a hammer and chisel to create the size you need. I only needed to do this a few times.
5. Complete each layer before adding the next- this will help keep the wall level. If you want to make sure the wall is level, you can use a bubble level to check. I never used one – I just eye-balled it.
6. Use the flattest nicest looking stones for the top. For the ends – you can step-stone them so they end in the grass or you can butt the ends of the stones right against a sidewalk or building.
That’s it. Done! It is really not that hard and since no mortar or special tools are needed – the only cost is for the stones.
From time to time I have noticed a top stone has moved. It is simple to just pick it up and place it right back into place.
Now that the garden wall is done, I just have to wait for the hydrangeas to bloom, in the meantime, I am enjoying the peonies that just started blooming yesterday in my backyard…
…and the pink Verbena planted in a long bed. They will stay in bloom all summer. By the end of the summer they will cover the entire bed. They love full sun and are pretty drought resistant. I found that out one summer when we had a drought. They were the only flowers I had planted that survived. They are my number one bedding flower now :-)
I have a few more beds to clean up for the summer, then I can just sit back and enjoy my efforts.
What are you up to this weekend? Anything fun or relaxing?