Until recently, creating garden walls was a task meant only for a professional or a capable do-it-yourselfer. Messy concrete and deep trenches were necessary to hold bricks in place; considerable time and money could be dropped into the project. With the advent of interlocking paver stones, creating a custom garden wall can be a simple weekend activity with extraordinary results.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Paver stones
- Rubber mallet
Plan out your wall. For mortarless interlocking pavers, the Ask the Builder website recommends you keep the height under 3 feet for optimum strength.
Create the foundation. The depth requirements will vary depending on your area and whether the wall will be used as a retainer. If your locale is prone to frost, digging down below the frost line will greatly improve the longevity of your garden wall. If you are in a relatively dry, temperate location, you may only need to take a few inches of topsoil off to level the ground. Regardless of climate, be sure that the foundation is level, smooth and firmly packed.
Lay the first course. Make sure the pavers rest snugly together. Tap them down with a heavy duty rubber mallet as you go. If using hollow pavers, fill each layer with gravel as you go.
Lay the next courses, staggering the paver edges so that they are offset. This will add stability to your wall. You may need half-bricks for the ends of every other row; many paving stone companies sell garden pavers in halves for this purpose, but if you have to cut them yourself, simply use a brick chisel and hammer to score a line around the entire block and then give the chisel a firm hit with the hammer. The block should break in half.
Cap off the wall with capstones designed for the purpose. This not only enhances the look of your finished wall, but protects hollow pavers from water and frost damage.
Tips and warnings
- If you are using the wall as a retaining wall, be sure your foundation is at least 4 inches deep for each 3 feet of height. Fill a 2-inch layer of gravel along the new foundation site to ensure that moisture build-up behind the retaining wall has a place to drain. Backfill with soil after each course, tamping the ground firmly into place. To increase the stability of a retaining wall, slant the pavers into the slope by adding each course slightly further back than the layer before.
- If you plan on building your garden wall any higher than three feet, consult a professional landscape architect. Poorly planned walls can topple dangerously. Failed retaining walls can cause property damage.
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