What’s the perfect addition to an already-beautiful backyard? Answers may differ depending on where you are, but imagine that backyard with a gorgeous wall to separate your patio and flower beds that doubles as a place to sit. Now that’s enticing! Luckily we’re here to guide you through the process of DIY-ing your very own sitting wall to add to your backyard.
- Mason line and level
- Hand tamp
- 4-foot level
- Rubber mallet
- Mason’s chisel and maul
- Brick hammer
- Caulk gun
- Cast concrete blocks
- 4 wooden stakes
- Paver base
- Construction adhesive
- You must dig a trench before stacking the pieces, and for stability, the trench must be at least half the depth of the first course of the wall. To prevent the wall from tilting when the ground settles, leave at least 1 inch of space on either side of the blocks that you will backfill. Map out the length and shape of the trench using the stones that have been positioned at the wall’s two ends as markers. On either side of the stones, add at least 1 inch. At each end, drive a stake.
- Mason’s line should then be strung between the stakes with a line level attached. Instead of tying the string to the stakes to prevent it from shifting, nick each stake and hook the string in the notches; this will allow you to remove the string when you need to dig and reattach it again.
- Dig a trench at least 6 inches deep, or until you can see through the loamy topsoil to the lighter-colored soil below, commencing at the lowest point of any slope. As you dig the area, take measurements from the level line to maintain the trench’s base level. Consider having a wheelbarrow handy so you can cart away the soil as you go.
- Paver base, composed of crushed rock and stone dust, is used to build a solid, closely packed base for the stones. Layer the base so that you can pack it firmly, and continue to build it up until the depth of the remaining trench is about half the thickness of your stone. Add 3 inches of paver base to the excavation with a shovel.
- Compact the base with a hand tamper. To ensure that the base remains level, measure the distance from the base to the level line. If more paver base is required, pour it in layers and tamp each one until the surface is half a block’s depth plus one inch above ground level at the slope’s lowest point.
- Stone dust should be piled 1 inch deep in the trench. Pulling a spade over the irregular surface will spread and level the stone dust. Verify that the finished depth of the trench, including the base and stone dust, is half a stone’s thickness at its shallowest point.
- Place the first stone in the middle of the trench, between the sides. Check the stone’s alignment from side to side, front to rear, and corner to corner using a 4-foot level. Tap the stone to set it with a rubber mallet. Next, set the stone. Use the mallet to set it, then make sure it is level and flush with the surrounding stone. This is how you should set the first course all the way to the wall’s finish.
- Backfill the spaces between the stones with additional stone dust and a layer of the earth using a spade. Be careful not to move the stones when you step on the dirt to compact it.
- Using a mason’s chisel, mark and score every side of the stone where it will be cut.
- Holding the chisel vertically at one end of the score line, split the stones by striking them with a maul.
- Apply masonry construction glue in two lines on top of the first course of stones using a caulk gun. Make sure to stagger the joints as you layer the second course on top of the first.
- Right up until the wall is just a few inches below the target height, keep building courses. The last course should have two beads of masonry glue applied before the capstones are set. To make a finished top, turn them perpendicular so that they extend over the sides of the wall.
Whatever project you are working on, we have you covered. At Northside Tool Rental, we work hands-on with our customers, and our flexible rental solutions and loyalty program mean we’re there to help you see the job through ‘til the end. Contact one of our experts today to discuss what tools you need and how we can fully equip you to get the job done. We have convenient locations in Marietta, Gwinnett, Doraville, and Buckhead. Call us at 404-233-6722 to get your project started.