Building Dry Stack Stone Wall on Slopes: DIY

Building Dry Stack Stone Wall on Slopes: DIY

Building Dry Stack Stone Wall on Slopes: DIY

Are you looking to add a touch of natural beauty to your landscape? Building a dry stack stone wall on slopes can be a rewarding and visually stunning project. Not only will it enhance the aesthetics of your outdoor space, but it will also provide structural support and prevent erosion. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of building a dry stack stone wall on slopes, ensuring that you have all the necessary information and guidance to complete the project successfully.

Materials and Tools

Before we dive into the construction process, let’s gather all the materials and tools you will need:

  • Stone blocks or rocks
  • Gravel
  • Sand
  • Landscape fabric
  • Wooden stakes
  • String or twine
  • Shovel
  • Tamping tool
  • Level
  • Mallet or rubber mallet
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves

Step 1: Planning and Preparation

Before you start building your dry stack stone wall, it is crucial to plan and prepare the area properly. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Survey the slope: Assess the slope where you intend to build the wall. Take note of any potential obstacles or drainage issues that may affect the stability of the wall.
  2. Mark the boundaries: Use wooden stakes and string to mark the boundaries of your wall. This will help you visualize the final shape and size of the wall.
  3. Clear the area: Remove any vegetation, rocks, or debris from the construction site. Ensure that the area is clean and level.
  4. Prepare the foundation: Dig a trench along the base of the slope, ensuring that it is wide enough to accommodate the first row of stones. The trench should be at least 6 inches deep.
  5. Add gravel and sand: Fill the trench with a layer of gravel, followed by a layer of sand. Use a tamping tool to compact the layers and create a solid foundation.

Step 2: Building the First Row

The first row of stones is crucial for the stability and alignment of your dry stack stone wall. Follow these steps to build the first row:

  1. Place the stones: Select the largest and flattest stones for the first row. Lay them side by side in the trench, ensuring that they are level and aligned with the string markers.
  2. Check for stability: Use a level to ensure that the stones are stable and even. Adjust the gravel and sand underneath if necessary.
  3. Fill gaps: If there are any gaps between the stones, fill them with smaller rocks or stone chips. This will provide additional stability and prevent shifting.
  4. Compact the stones: Use a tamping tool to firmly press the stones into the gravel and sand foundation. This will ensure a solid base for the rest of the wall.

Step 3: Building Subsequent Rows

Once the first row is in place, you can start building the subsequent rows. Follow these steps to continue constructing your dry stack stone wall:

  1. Select stones: Choose stones that fit well together and have a similar height. This will create a visually appealing and structurally sound wall.
  2. Place the stones: Lay the stones on top of the first row, staggering the joints for added strength. Ensure that each stone is securely positioned and level.
  3. Fill gaps: As you stack the stones, fill any gaps between them with smaller rocks or stone chips. This will help maintain stability and prevent shifting.
  4. Check for alignment: Regularly use a level and string to check the alignment of the wall. Adjust the stones as needed to maintain a straight and even structure.
  5. Continue stacking: Repeat the process of placing stones, filling gaps, and checking alignment until you reach the desired height of your stone wall.

Step 4: Adding Finishing Touches

Once you have completed the main construction of your dry stack stone wall, it’s time to add some finishing touches:

  1. Backfill the wall: Fill the space behind the wall with soil, ensuring that it is compacted to provide additional support.
  2. Install landscape fabric: To prevent weeds from growing between the stones, lay landscape fabric behind the wall before backfilling.
  3. Consider drainage: If your wall is located on a slope with potential water runoff, install drainage pipes or gravel-filled trenches to redirect the water and prevent erosion.

Step 5: Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and stability of your dry stack stone wall. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Regularly inspect the wall for any signs of shifting or instability. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Remove any vegetation or debris that may accumulate on the wall, as they can cause moisture retention and weaken the structure.
  • Check the drainage system regularly to ensure that it is functioning properly and preventing water buildup behind the wall.
  • If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, consider applying a stone sealant to protect the wall from water penetration and frost damage.


Building a dry stack stone wall on slopes is a challenging yet rewarding DIY project. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this guide, you can create a beautiful and functional addition to your landscape. Remember to plan and prepare the area properly, choose the right materials, and pay attention to alignment and stability throughout the construction process. With proper maintenance and care, your dry stack stone wall will stand the test of time, providing both aesthetic appeal and structural support for years to come.