Build a Freestanding Garden Wall

Great landscaping idea: build a freestanding garden wall

A simple, freestanding mortar-less wall A simple, freestanding mortar-less wall.

Building a freestanding stone garden wall will add timeless beauty to your landscape. In this post, we’ll show you step-by-step how our team built a gorgeous, mortared freestanding wall.

As their name suggests, freestanding walls stand alone. Nothing supports them from behind, so they need to be very strong. Freestanding walls have to withstand pressures from above (the weight of the stones), changes underneath (freeze and thaw cycles), and force on both sides (gravity, the wind).

If you think a freestanding wall can’t last, remember Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, one of the world’s most famous freestanding walls. Many parts of the wall are still standing, even after 1800 years. The wall runs 73 miles and in some places is six meters high! Learn more about Hadrian’s Wall at the Hadrian’s Wall website.

There are two types of freestanding walls: mortar-less and mortared. Mortar-less walls don’t use any kind of connective glue to keep the stones together. They tend to be shorter than mortared walls.

freestanding mortared wall separates mowed and natural areas

This post focuses on building mortared walls. We rarely do mortar-less freestanding walls, because they require a totally different skill set. If you want to learn more about mortar-less building, The Stone Trust is a great resource.

Let’s walk through how our team built a freestanding stone wall.
First, we dug out the area where the wall would go. We laid down rebar and then poured in four to six inches of concrete to create a stable footer.

Note the rebar lining our foundation ditch Note the rebar lining our foundation ditch.

Once the concrete was dry, we placed concrete blocks on top of it. These blocks were mortared onto the concrete footer. We used a level to make sure everything was true.

We created a nice semicircle with the concrete blocks We created a nice semicircle with the concrete blocks.

The natural stone was then adhered to the concrete block and footer with additional mortar. On this natural stone wall, many of the stones were hand chiseled to fit into the wall.

We used two rows of concrete blocks to get our desired height We used two rows of concrete blocks to get our desired height.

A flagstone cap is mortared on top to finish the wall. We then backfilled the excavated dirt behind the wall and tamped it into place.

Notice how the wall frames the landscaping Notice how the wall frames the landscaping.

The result is a handsome wall that adds value to the lush landscaping and will stand the test of time. It may last as long as Hadrian’s Wall!

When you’re ready to build a freestanding wall, contact the masonry experts at Art of Stone Gardening. They are standing by to answer all your questions. Happy building!

This is part of our Stone Wall series. See ‘Garden Walls Done Right‘ and ‘Rock Gardening with Stone Gravity Walls‘.

Project: Cumming, GA

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