1. Prepare the foundation and lay the first course
Establish the line of the wall with pegs and stringline, then cut back the slope. At the base, dig a 200mm deep, 600mm wide trench. Separately pile topsoil and subsoil nearby to make it easier to backfill later. Fill the trench with a 100mm bed of 20mm aggregate. TIP: The line of a straight wall can be set with pegs and a stringline.
Next, lay the first course by laying large base stones along the outer edge of the trench. Now is the time to roll in any rocks that are going to be too big to lift up onto the upper courses. TIP: Separate stone into size groups for faster selection.
2. Add fabric and backfill, then build
Tuck geotextile landscape fabric in behind the first course, fold it over the rocks, shovel in backfill and tamp soil by pounding with a post or plate compactor. Repeat this entire process after each course. TIP: If the site is wet, lay a length of agricultural pipe behind the base stone so that any water will be diverted to an exit point.
Next, build with wall stone. Lay the fabric back against the slope and set the wall stone courses. Each course should be wider than the previous one. Three courses are shown here. TIP: It’s best to complete an entire course before moving on to the next (see Diagram 2).