How to Build a Stone Fence

What most people perceive as a stone wall is actually a stone fence when it's used to mark boundaries rather than act as a barrier. Even if you're an amateur, you can build your own stone fence by following these instructions.


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    Start by getting a lot of stones, fairly consistent with the size of the wall you're building. Get big stones for a big wall, smaller stones for a smaller wall. Make sure you have a good supply of smaller stones that can fill gaps. You may want to use stone blocks.
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    Make sure the spot is sturdy before you start, and will hold your wall. If the base is uneven, use a leveling line to correct it.
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    Decide how wide and how long it should be, where you want it and how high it should be (mark this, either with ruler/yardstick or a grid/blueprint).
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    As a rule, a dry stacked wall should lean in towards the top 1/6 of the height.
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    Lay out a side rail (with something long like sticks, rulers, wood, small stones) to guide you, and outline where you want your wall, so that your wall is consistent. To make a straight and level wall, get string or flagging tape and tie it between posts on both ends of the fence. Make sure to tie the string / flagging tape at the height you want your fence to use as a guide.
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    You may want to call for help. Call a professional, strong friends, or neighbors who can help you. Use a wheelbarrow or a handcart to move heavy stones. Extraordinarily large stones may need to be moved with special power equipment.
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    Put a layer of larger flat rocks along the inside of your wall. Make sure you fill in the spaces, and it's a fairly even layer, and patch-in holes/spaces with dirt or more dirt to give you a good base.
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    Continue to build up layers until your base is high enough, and check to ensure that it's level. To make a strong wall try to place each stone over the gap between two stones beneath it.


  • Old walls are the best source of stone; however, it's a cardinal sin to take rocks from an intact wall. If a wall has fallen down, then it's no longer a wall and hence fair game. If the stone is on private property, taking the stone is called theft.
  • For longer walls (50 or more feet) it is beneficial to build up the ends of a straight section (about 3 feet long). Then pull a string line between the completed ends, and build up the center between them. This ensures the face of the wall is straight and even along the entire run.
  • When placing edge stones, make sure the top surface leans at least slightly in toward the center of the wall. An outward tilt virtually guarantees instability.
  • Use a team of people. That way, you have help lifting and placing stones, and your wall will be built better and faster. Make sure that everyone on the team knows who the architect is, for he or she is the final arbiter when decisions that need to be made. otherwise you will end up with a wall of uneven quality.
  • If you have a particularly pretty rock, attempt to find a place for it as an edge or top stone.
  • Use "native" stone whenever possible: that is, local stone better fits the landscape (eg, color, mosses, lichens, etc.) than trucked-in stone.
  • The ways in which a wall defies these common sense rules often is what makes it beautiful. Don't be afraid to experiment with irregular sizes and shapes.
  • Use stones of roughly equal size.


  • Make sure it's safe, not on top of any wires or any plumbing outlets.
  • Make sure you build your wall in a safe, sturdy place.
  • If it's not built correctly it may fall, so beware of any balance issues.

Things You'll Need

  • Stones or Stone Blocks (Amount depends on the width of your wall.), gravel and stone dust.
  • Wheelbarrow, Mason's Hammer, Cold Chisels, Brick Hammer.
  • Sticks, Rulers, Wood, or Small Stones (For side rail.)
  • Gloves, Safety goggles with side shields

Article Info

Categories: Walls Fences and Decks