Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Build a Stone Wall


Materials and Preparation
Testament to longevity: Hadrian's Wall in the U.K. was built over the years of 112 to 130 A.D. Large stretches of the wall still stand [source: BBC].
Testament to longevity: Hadrian's Wall in the U.K. was built over the years of 112 to 130 A.D. Large stretches of the wall still stand [source: BBC].
©iStockphoto/Thinkstock

You've set a plan and you're raring to build your new wall. Make sure you have all the required items ready [source: Volk]:

  • Stone -- Figure on the total volume as being twice the height times the length, no matter what technique you use, but remember you'll be using stones of many different sizes, and the wall itself is going to settle in time, which means it's not as simple as eyeballing that total.
  • A wheelbarrow to carry your stones (and mix your mortar, if you like)
  • Crowbars or other tools for maneuvering heavier stones
  • Heavy boots, gloves and goggles
  • Something to dig your trench and a chisel for addressing minor issues with the stone
  • Stakes -- two stakes for every yard of wall length, a few inches taller than your finished project
  • String -- at least double the length of your wall.
  • Optional items: line level, mason's level, masonry hammers

Define your trench by nailing stakes along the outside edge of your workspace, putting down two stakes about every yard the length of the project. Make sure they're a good deal taller than your eventual wall height, because you'll be re-tying your line as the wall builds. Once the stakes are down, tie your twine to them at about a foot high to start, making sure it's taut.


More to Explore