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Stone Walls for Flower Gardens

Stone walls serve a decorative and functional purpose for flower gardens. They add definition and structure to the look of your garden while retaining soil and protecting your plants from yard traffic. Stone walls vary in style from formal to rugged, and some are easier to construct than others. If you're planning a wall taller than 3 feet tall, have someone with experience help.
  1. Function

    • Stone walls can serve several purposes in a garden, while also contributing to the site's overall beauty. In addition to edging a raised garden, you can build an entire wall as a backdrop for your garden, to retain a hill or to frame your flowers. Dry stack stone walls were originally built on English moors to keep sheep from running away. Today, a basic stacked stone wall can give a garden a feeling of enclosure and escape from distractions.


    • Stone comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors, depending on the type of stone you choose. Choosing a design can be as simple as flipping through a gardening magazine for inspiration, or as involved as choosing a type of stone and creating a design best suited for that stone. Dry stacked walls are not held together with mortar; instead they require large flat stones for the bottom and medium-size stones for the body of the wall, with small stones wedged into gaps. Though a dry stacked stone may not sound stable, some well-built walls have lasted hundreds of years because the stones can move and shift with frost heaves and thaws.


    • The three main steps in building a stone wall for a flower garden are to lay a solid foundation, stack the body, and finish the top. Round stones require the additional step of cementing stones together. If you're working with flat stones, stack the body of the wall so that each stone lies over two stones beneath it, and the largest stones are on the bottom. (see ref 2)


    • Call the office of your local building inspector before building a stone wall for your garden. Some areas have stipulations on the location, height and type of materials you can use. Once you have the green light, note that the width of the wall's base should equal half the height of the wall to ensure that the structure is sound. If the wall is meant to retain soil, dig an 8 inch trench so that the first layer is almost completely embedded in the ground. Slant the wall in toward the garden 1 inch for every foot of height for maximum stability.