The idea behind deadmen stones is to tie the structure into the slope in back of it for greater stability. RELATED: The 10 Best Things You Can Do for Your Soil. Apply a base coat of mortar beneath the wall onto a carefully prepared foundation. After completing this first course, or foundation, backfill with some of your excavated soil and any stones too small to use for building the retaining wall, and tamp down the backfill. Head to your favorite rock yard and choose stones that have at least two sides that are flat, which become the “top” and the “bottom” once in place. Here are the three main principles you need to obey: A retaining wall leans against a solid mound of earth. Not only will you be lifting heavy stones and mixing mortar, you'll be doing it in less than ideal conditions.It won't be easy. A good rule of thumb is 2 inches back into the slope for every 1 foot of height. Let the base coat dry and set for 24 hours and then start laying the stones horizontally. Sort out the coping stones from the collapsed wall first and place them two to three metres from the wall. You can use uncut rubble, ... Lay Out and Pour Footing. You may have to submit plans for your wall and schedule a property inspection to ensure that building a retaining wall won’t create drainage problems. A dry-set stone retaining wall goes up using the same techniques as a freestanding wall but requires thicker stones throughout. While you’re at it, do also place a call DigSafe (811), a nationwide service that will notify local utility companies that you plan to dig. Leave anything taller than 4 feet to the skills of a professional. Despite their simple appearance, though, these walls require a good deal of planning—sometimes professional engineering—to keep their shape. Choose Stones. Better fences make better neighbours, and if you'd like a better wall, build one that's mortared together. After looking at a number of concrete block options, I decided to build mine with stones and mortar. When laying the next courses of stones, backfill and tamp down after completing each row. Because this base should not be visible, you will need to excavate soil to a depth of at least 4 inches. The good thing about building a stone retaining wall that is mortar-less is that your “drainage system” comes built-in. Music - "Learn to Fly" by Josh Woodward. Capstones are similar to the stones used in your top row, in that they should be flat and have significant mass. Begin by laying the foundation. For example, if the lower wall is three-feet high, the higher wall should be set back at least six feet from the lower one. The heavier the stones, the more stability you have, but also the harder the work will be. Plot where the retaining wall will sit at the bottom of the slope, using stakes and. These are the most critical blocks in your wall. The locking flange on the bottom edge of every block guides it to click into position slightly behind the lower block, preventing the top blocks from being pushed outward. Terraces of natural stone are laid one horizontal row at a time. A mortar wall must be built on a firm foundation, or its joints will crack. Take the time to fit this row as closely together and as level as possible. Receive free, no-commitment estimate from lawn service professionals near you. For a stacked-block retaining wall that’s no higher than four feet, a trench filled with three inches of crushed rock will help keep the wall from shifting and settling. This will make your wall look more natural. By the time your terrace is half its planned height, incorporate what are known as “deadmen.” In the case of stone retaining walls, the term refers to long stones laid perpendicularly across the wall, rather than parallel to all the other stones. The exact depth of the trench depends on the proposed height of the wall, but follow this rule of thumb: Dig a trench to be an eighth of the wall plus three inches. A freestanding dry stone wall is similar to a retaining wall, but with a few variations. A retaining wall’s effect on the natural flow of water could impact your neighbors, so some communities require homeowners to obtain a permit before construction commences. Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at WattersGardenCenter.com or  FB.com/WattersGardenCenter . Retaining walls can be constructed using a variety of materials, from poured concrete and large timbers to natural stones, even bricks. A rule of thumb, passed down from my wall-building teacher’s mentor, is to try a stone seven different ways. Press stones firmly into the mortar on the block wall, enough so that the stone is embedded into the … Set First Layer. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least one deadman per 16 square feet of exposed wall face. Establish the face of the retaining wall by hammering a piece of rebar into the ground … The ends of the drainpipe should then exit on each end of the wall, and you may cover them with crushed stone to camouflage their appearance. Dig a trench that's below the frost line and 2 feet wider than the wall. When building a retaining wall, it is important to leave “weep holes” to allow water to drain from the upper level. It is about 75 feet long, 1 foot thick, and varies from one foot tall on the high end to three feet tall on the low end by the garage. This is the third section I built of a mortared stone retaining wall. See All The Steps. How to build a stone retaining wall with mortar? Determine the wall location. We have a lot of plant choices at the garden center right now, but three that come to mind for sunny locations are blue rug juniper, native creeping mahonia, and coral beauty cotoneaster. The first step in building a stone retaining wall with mortar will be to trench and install a concrete base around the perimeter. Make sure there is as little wobble as possible between each stone. But because you have built a slightly backward slope into the trench’s base, your stones will slope slightly from front to back. The soil is so easy to work right now that adding compost, manure, and plant food into your soil is almost fun for the winter gardener pent up indoors. And the best thing of all, you don’t even need to use mortar to build a stone border. For taller structures, use mortared walls. The dry-stack method is not appropriate for walls that are to be higher than 3 feet tall. To counteract wobbling stones use small flat rocks as shims for stabilization. For just this reason, retaining walls taller than four feet should be designed and constructed by the pros. Stone edging in the landscape can help you establish borders between garden areas and lawn. Reducing soil erosion, turning steep slopes into terraced backdrops, creating focal points in the landscape—retaining walls serve many purposes. These blocks (available in gray and earthy tones in smooth or textured faces, like these at The Home Depot) can be found at virtually any home improvement store and many garden centers as well. This is the time to turn your garden soils, plan crop rotation, and dream while turning the pages of that new seed catalog. Water will usually seep through the cracks between the stones. The bottom row should be your most stable stones. You can use stone as a low retaining wall for flower bed, a fire pit, as outdoor seating, water feature etc. Take out the main stones and put the top ones furthest from the wall. Use enough mortar to fill the joints completely. Cascading plants, such as creeping thyme, alyssum, ivy, creeping rosemary, and vinca minor are very attractive spilling down the sides of stone retaining walls.