How to build a dry stone wall


Dry stone walling is an ancient craft that goes back thousands of years. The hands-on and straightforward technique is still used worldwide to this day. You will see dry stone walling all over the world.

Dry stone walling is used today as boundary walls for land and livestock, and this traditional method of stonewalling is practical and very pleasing to the eye.

Dry stone walls rely on friction and gravity for the wall to be strong. The friction between the stones maintains the strength of the wall, and the weight of the stones increases the strength. While there is a method to increase the wall’s strength, that is the central aspect, each stone should cross the stone below, which is called half bond, and the front course and back should fall to the centre of the wall’s core.

how to build a drystone wall

To build a drystone wall, the first thing to do is dig a footing. Whether you’re going to build the wall, the traditional way of putting a concrete base in, you want to make sure the finished ground leans into the centre of the wall. This enables the first course to lean in and dip in the core of the wall.

The main reason is so the wall leans in as it is being built, so the wall has a solid base.

An excellent way to make the wall taper in is to build a better frame or what is also called an A-frame.

The frame can be made of any scrap wood as long as it is strong enough.

Build a batter frame 

Build a batter frame mark the foundation around Mark the width of the base (here 80cm). Mark a line parallel to the layer 1.2 cm from the bottom of the layer. This way, you can be more confident that your top line is parallel to the bottom line because it should intersect all your marks (withstand Please note that the marker is unlikely to be precisely 1.2m from the bottom. You should be able to get it close enough). Mark the position from the edge of the layer Half of the base width (in this case 80cm/2= Divide the width of the top below the top by 2 (that is, 40cm/2=20cm in this example) and mark this distance on both sides of the centre mark. Mark the outer surface of the wall by connecting corners

Once you have built the frame, set it up and knock it in with pegs to secure it. Next, attach a building line to each frame which gives you a plane to build to,

build to the line moving the line up each course.

Make sure the cross joints are crossed to achieve maximum strength and include tie stones that tie the front course to the back.

Once the dry stone wall has been built, use capping stone to finish it off.

Look for stones similar in size and that have a flat bottom if possible.

I hope this guide gives you a quick and easy insight into how to build a dry stone wall.