Thanks to their natural appearance, dry stone walls fit easily into the garden landscape. Here it not only closes an ugly gap on the slope that is difficult to maintain. Their open joints provide an important habitat for plants and animals.
It doesn’t always have to be mortar and strip foundations. In fact, the construction of a dry layered garden wall means, among other things, much less effort – the simple construction has some advantages over classic wall variants. A dry stone wall is usually built primarily as a retaining wall on slopes, as a border for raised beds, or as a free-standing structure to subdivide the garden area.
All that is required as a foundation is a ditch about 40 to 50 cm deep, compacted with gravel and building sand, on which the individual rows of stones can then be gradually laid. Visually, natural garden bricks and natural stones made of granite, sandstone or limestone are the best building materials. These can add a natural, rustic character to your wall, precisely because they don’t have to be laid perfectly evenly.
In addition, dry stone walls offer an important ecological benefit: the joints form valuable habitats for numerous plants and animals such as lizards, toads, wild bees or ground beetles. Herbs can also be easily planted between the bricks.
foundation and wall
The back of the dry stone wall shown here intercepts the terrain and is filled with gravel. Since it thus assumes a support function, it is built against the slope with an inclination of 10 to 20 percent. The distance from the foundation pit to the slope is about 20 cm.
Important: plan generously! With natural stone, about 20% more material should always be planned, since not all stones fit together exactly.
1. Dig the foundation pit
Use a spade to dig a foundation pit about 40 cm deep at the end of the slope.
At the same time, remove irritating weeds from around the planned construction area and rearrange bedding plants if necessary.
Depending on the course of the slope, the wall can also be curved. To do this, dig an appropriate pit by eye.The width of the foundation pit should tend to correspond to about one third of the planned wall height.
2. backfill pit
The pit is now filled with a layer of gravel about 30 cm thick and about 5 to 10 cm of building sand.
Distribute the gravel and building sand evenly in the foundation pit with a rake and slant it slightly towards the slope.
The foundation layer can then be compacted with a soil and concrete rammer (borrow it if necessary).
The wider the finished foundation base, the higher you can build the drywall. However, pay attention to legal regulations.
3. Install drainage pipe
If the soil is very damp or if the walls are larger, you can also install a drainage pipe behind the stones. Lay the pipe in the foundation pit with a slight incline so that the water can drain to one side.
4. Lay the first row
With a guideline you can guarantee that a section of the wall runs as straight as possible.
Now put the first stone layer. Before backfilling, you can build a temporary support out of flagstones. Excessively large joint spaces between the natural stones are closed with earth or small quarry stones.Lay the rest of the bottom row of stones in the pit in this way.
5. Second row
Stack the second row staggered. The laying pattern may vary, but cross joints should be avoided.
6. Secure the top layer if necessary
Even if it’s not the drywall style: If necessary, the top layer can be fixed with a little mortar. Mortar is recommended for the top row if it is to withstand particular loads (lawn mowers, children playing, etc.).
7. hide drainage
The drainage pipe runs behind the wall and is then covered with earth and gravel.
8. Secure the back
Now fill the back of the finished drywall with crushed stone. This layer of gravel is also compacted with earth and concrete rammers.
Then tap the bricks against the backfill from the outside with a rubber mallet.