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Video:How to Build Stacked Flagstone Walls

with Jonathan and Max

It's easier than you think to learn how to build stacked flagstone walls for planting flower beds. See how to build stacked flagstone walls in your yard.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Build Stacked Flagstone Walls

Hi, I'm Jonathan, this is Max, and we're with Modern Urban Design Landscaping for About.com. Today we're going to learn how to build stacked flagstone walls for planting beds.

When you've chosen the type of stone you'd like to use from the stone yard, it will come on a palate like this.

Creating a Layout for the Stacked Flagstone Walls

The first thing you'll want to do is lay all of the stones out like you would a jigsaw puzzle, so that you can see them all at once. Organize them by size and thickness. This will help you when it comes time to fit them into the wall.

Steps for Building Stacked Flagstone Walls

Dig a trench three to four inches deep, and at least four inches wider than your wall will be. Tamp the soil down (using a 10" hand tamp). Then add some clean gravel into the trench. Tamp that down as well. Finally, pour in a couple inches of stone dust (sand will work, but stone dust is preferable and is available at most stone yards). This will help in leveling the first layer of stones. Tamp that down as well.

When placing the first layer of stones a good rule of thumb is recess the stones one inch below the original soil line for every foot tall the wall will be (example: if you want the wall to be three feet tall, make sure your trench is deep enough so that the first stone is recessed three inches below the original soil line. Make sure you factor in your underlayment when calculating the depth of the trench you need to dig).

It's important that this first layer of stones be very stable. There should be no rocking or shifting. The tops of all of the stones should be at the same level to create a flat plane, and the longest, straightest edge should be facing the exposed side.

For our second layer we've chosen to use some of our thicker stones. Like when laying bricks you want to AVOID lining up the seams. Fitting the stones together is trial and error, but keep shifting them around until they are perfectly stable.

When two stones don't line up perfectly, you can cut them to make a tight fit. Use a circular saw fitted with a diamond-tipped masonry blade to score the stone, then perch the stone so that the part you want to remove is unsupported, then strike it swiftly with a hammer. You can then use the hammer to give it a more natural face. Now the stone fits snugly into place.

We've saved our largest and best-looking pieces for the capstone. Fit these together in the same manner as the other layers.

Backfill the wall with some gravel, and finally with your soil. You now have a beautiful, rustic flagstone retaining wall.

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