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Video:How to Build a Retaining Wall Out of Stone

with Eric King

A stone retaining wall can be both a useful piece of hardscaping and an attractive addition to your property. This landscaping video from About.com will offer some tips on building a retaining wall out of stone.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Build a Retaining Wall Out of Stone

Hi, I'm Eric King, registered landscape architect with About.com, and this is how to build a retaining wall out of stone.

Components of a Retaining Wall

Building a stone retaining wall involves several steps. First and foremost, make sure that you always follow local building codes. And walls have three major components: there's the footing or base where it's built; then, there's the face, the surface you would see as you're looking at it; then, there's the cap, the top that ties everything together.

Steps for Building a Stone Retaining Wall

The first step is preparing a good base. That means digging down enough to form and pour concrete, put rebar in, so you have to go deep enough to get a good solid base for the wall.

Next, you come up with the face of the wall. Most of the time now walls are built with stone that is veneered or attached to cinder block. So on your footing, you take cinder block, mortar it in place to the heights you need. Once it's dry, you take stone, you can cut it, you can chip it, all kinds of colors and textures, and you apply that in a thin veneer to the cinder block below. And this is the vertical surface or the face that you see when you're looking at it from the side.

The third component is the cap. That cap can be made out of the same stone. It can be made out of a different stone. It can be made out of a lot of different materials. But it's what you see when you look at it from above and it ties the wall all together.

Dry Stack Stone Walls

There's another type of stone wall that's called a dry stack or mortar-less retaining wall and, like the name sounds, it uses no mortar, it uses just solid stone. It can be a low wall, six inches high; it can be taller, it can be several feet high. The key is you use bigger stones and they have a little bit of slope or lean to them, batter its called, so that you're leaning into the slope just slightly and then gravity holds it in place. And those are beautiful natural stone walls that are a better product to use for the do-it-yourselfer because there's no mortar and concrete and cinder block involved.

Thanks for watching. I'm Eric King with King Landscaping for About.com and this has been building a retaining wall out of stone.

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