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Creating a stone border for your flower bed is a fantastic way to bring style and function to your landscaping. A well conceived stone flower bed border adds elegance to your front yard landscaping while providing a barrier to keep grass and weeds out of flower beds.
In this post, we’ve included the answers to 10 pro tips about building a stone flower bed border to help with your project whether you hire a masonry contractor or decide to undergo this task yourself.
If you would like to install a stone landscape border and need to keep the cost to a minimum, the cheapest way to build a stone wall would be to simply lay rock around the perimeter of the flower bed.
At any local garden store, you should be able to find bricks, modest boulders or perhaps some chopped stone.
The cost of stone landscape wall edging will depend entirely on the installation method and the overall height of the wall.
Stone walls can be installed using the dry-stacked method or with concrete and mortar.
A dry-stacked stone wall averages between $20-$30 per linear foot while a mortared stone wall with a concrete base can cost between $3o-$40 per linear foot.
Yes, we always recommend installing a concrete footing for your flower bed border when building the border with mortared stonework.
A concrete footing will provide a level and sturdy base for the wall and helps prevent cracking if the ground underneath settles or moves. We also recommend a concrete footing if your stone wall exceeds 12″ in height, whether installed with mortared or stacked in place.
Finally, if you feel strongly about keeping grass and weeds out of the flower bed, we recommend having a concrete footing installed to act as a secondary barrier.
A concrete footing for a wall should be about 4 inches deep, the same depth used when pouring a concrete patio, and just a bit wider than your stonework. Installing 4 inches of material provides a stable enough base to resist cracking if the ground shifts or settles.
Without mortar, you will be dry-stacking your stone garden wall. If you plan to install one row of stonework, simply dig a small 1-2 inch trench around the perimeter and lay the stone garden wall.
If you would like to install multiple rows of stonework, we recommend taking the time create a level base and ensuring the rows will also be level. You can use additional soil to create a more level trench around the perimeter of your flower bed. You can also use mason’s sand and decomposed granite to create a more solid base for your stonework.
The first step in building a stone retaining wall with mortar will be to trench and install a concrete base around the perimeter. Because this base should not be visible, you will need to excavate soil to a depth of at least 4 inches.
Once the concrete footing is in place and level, you can begin to add the mortar and stone. Mix your mortar to a smooth consistency and apply liberally along the concrete base, then add your stone, planning for a consistent gap between stones. Before adding additional rows of stonework, you can use a mortar bag to install mortar between the stones.
Continue the same process for each row. Once the mortar has been installed, you can go back and do some clean up for any excess mortar.
For the largest selection, we recommend going to a local stone yard to purchase the stone for your flower bed retaining walls. Most stone yards will have a selection of natural chopped stone and boulders to choose from.
For a professional looking installation, you will need to cut some of the stones for your landscape border wall.
Depending on the installation method and the hardness of the stone, you might be able to chisel the stone and hide any rough edges with mortar.
For harder stone or for dry-stacked installations, we recommend using an angle grinder or masonry saw with a diamond blade. Most landscape installation professionals prefer using a wet saw to cut down on the dust and keep the blade cool.
A proper stone wall installation should last for many years. Water, erosion and tree roots are the biggest dangers to stonework.
Make sure that all mortared stonework includes weeping holes between the stones to allow water to flow out of the flower bed. We don’t recommend installing stonework around immature trees as the roots will likely run into the stonework and cause cracking.
Stone materials used for flower bed borders can vary. Most often, stone masons will use chopped stone, brick or boulders.
Chopped stone starts as natural limestone or sandstone and is machine cut into uniform pieces resembling large bricks.
Similar in shape, manufactured bricks are readily available and a great stone material for a flower bed border.
Finally, for a more rustic look, use a natural boulder stone.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of options when deciding upon a style and material for your garden wall. We hope these 10 tips help when building your stone flower bed border whether you DIY or hire a masonry contractor for your project.