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How to Build a Moss Rock Wall

Brynne Chandler

Moss rock walls, also knows as dry stack walls, have been around since people first recognized the need to keep things in---or out of---their territory. Moss rock walls are made by the careful placement of layers of stone, with no mortar. Building rock walls with no mortar takes patience and planning. Talent for jigsaw puzzles is also a plus, because the better you fit the rocks together, the stronger your moss rock wall will be.

Building moss rock walls requires ingenuity and attention to detail.
  1. Use spray paint or twine to mark out exactly where you want your moss rock wall to go.

  2. Rake any loose stones, dirt and debris away from the line you marked.

  3. Dig a trench that is 6 inches deep and 12 inches wide along the line you marked. Use a flat-headed shovel so that the bottom of the resulting trench comes out as flat as possible.

  4. Use the carpenter's level to make sure that the trench floor is level. Use backfill tamped down lightly with the flat of the shovel blade to fill in any low spots.

  5. Sort out the rocks you want to use for the first layer. These should be long, wide and as close to flat on one side as you can find.

  6. Lay the first line of rocks in the trench, flat side up. Make sure that the rocks fit very tightly together. Use backfill to support any rocks that are wobbly.

  7. Check your work with the carpenter's level as you go. Being a tiny bit off level on the first layer might not seem like a problem, but if you keep building on it, by layer 10 you will have a seriously slanted wall.

  8. Sort out the rocks for the next layer. If you cannot find enough that are flat enough on both sides, use the hammer and chisel to flake off any protrusions. Save these chipped-off pieces to use as wedges as you build.

  9. Continue adding stones one layer at a time, wedging looser rocks with the chips you chiseled off, and checking the level as you go, until your moss rock wall reaches the desired height.