Putting a personal touch in your back yard with a Rustic Stone Garden Wall is easier and less expensive than most people think. While it certainly is a good idea to consult with a contractor for larger walls, especially walls over 3’ that may require an engineer’s stamp of approval, many do-it-yourselfers have added a beautiful touch to their homes and gardens this way.
It is a common misconception that using real stone for a wall puts a project out of the price range of most folks. It is true that natural stone is a premium product that retains its colors and doesn’t deteriorate like cement products. However an easy Rustic Stone Garden Wall 12’ long and built 9” high can be done with most any stone that Great Lakes Stone carries in stock for under $300!
First step in adding natural beauty to your house is to figure out how long of a wall you will need and how high you want to build it. You will also need to figure out if your wall will hold back dirt or if it will be a freestanding wall. To help clarify, the wall that holds back dirt (often called a retaining wall) will be part of a tiered system where the ground behind the wall is at a higher elevation. For a freestanding wall, the ground on both sides of the wall will be the same elevation. If you want to build a freestanding wall more than a couple layers of stone (Commonly called courses) high, you will actually need to build two walls. The two walls will rest against each other and support each other. Otherwise, you risk having an unstable wall that can easily topple.
Once you have a good idea of what kind of wall you want to build and how high, stop by and talk to the helpful sales staff at Great Lakes Stone. They can help you figure out how many square feet you will need depending on the type of wall, its length and its height.
When you have this figured out, the fun part comes. Head on back to the Great Lakes Stone yard and find a beautiful natural stone that will look perfect in your backyard or garden. There is a huge selection of stone for walkways on hand 12 months out of the year. There are smaller easy to carry wallstones to larger chunkier wallstone that require two people to set in place. There are quartzites, gneisses, dolomitic limestones and sandstones. There are blues, grays, whites, tans and multi colored stones. There are rough and rustic stones, shiny stones and smooth stones. Basically, any kind of stone you’d ever want.
All the stones used for a Rustic Stone Garden Wall are sold by weight. Once you have your stone selected, the helpful sales staff at Great Lakes Stone can help you calculate how many pounds you will need based on your measurements. The next step is getting the stone to your house. If you’d like to take care of transportation yourself, you can bring in a truck or a trailer. You may need to make multiple trips depending on how large your wall will be. Otherwise Great Lakes Stone delivers everywhere from Thunder Bay to Bemidji to Bayfield to St. Paul. Be sure to ask a sales rep for a delivery quote. Most deliveries in the Twin Ports area are $70 for up to 12 tons (12 tons is a HUGE wall 240’ long by 1’ high for most stones).
Now that you have your stone, you’re ready to get started adding a beautiful natural stone touch to your garden or backyard. If you are building a freestanding wall or a wall over one or two stones high, you will need to dig a little trench for a base. Even if you’re building a smaller wall, some people still like setting the stone in a trench so that it has the appearance of coming up from the ground. Since a rustic stone garden wall will only be a couple of courses high, you won’t need to build an extensive base. Just add a few inches to the width of your wall in both directions. Dig down a couple inches and fill the bottom with sand. This will allow you to set the stones for a nice level appearance. Remember, the first layer of stone you put down is the most important! If you get the top of the first course off level, it is very difficult to make your stone wall look proper.
There is no need for mortar in between the stones. In fact Great Lakes stone highly recommends against this. Since you are not building on a base that extends down below the frost line (6’-7’ down) you want to build a wall that can flex a little as the ground heaves in the winter. Using mortar will prevent this and cause cracks to appear in your beautiful new wall. Final step: Enjoy the your new stone wall!