How to Lay a Mortared Stone Wall
This simple stone wall does more than divide a garden or mark boundaries—it lends romance to a backyard. Learn how to build one for instant appeal.
A stone wall makes a statement that is at once both casual and stately. It has an aura of permanence, giving a timeless quality to even the newest landscaping.
An old stoneworker's adage describes how you should lay any stone wall: "One stone over two, two stones over one." Let the old saying guide your selection of stones for a mortared wall. And if you're using fieldstone, take another bit of old advice: "Pick stones that nest." That means choosing stones with contours that mate as closely as possible on their meeting faces.
Mortared stone walls need a concrete footing to keep them from cracking due to frost heave. Because a mortared wall is generally heavier than a dry-set wall of the the same size, local building codes often dictate specifications that affect the footings for mortared walls. Many codes require the use of reinforcing rod. Check before you build.
You'll need roughly 2 to 3 days to lay a 3x10-foot wall. Before you begin, prepare the site and order stones.