How to Lay a Stone Border (and Other Landscaping Advice)


Initial Preparation

Preparation is the key to a successful stone border installation. Select mortar color (grey or beige) and stone type that complements the home’s design (form and color).

The next step is to pick a location for the stone edging. It is quicker to add the space now than to rework the border if you decide to expand your landscape in the future, so keep that in mind. It is also essential to consider sprinkler systems while planning the border’s layout.

In Step 4, I’ll show you how to manufacture beige mortar by mixing typical grey mortar to your specifications.

You’ll need 1 ton of stone for every 100 feet of the border and one bag of mortar every 3 to 5 feet.

Part 2: Structure

Now that we’ve finished making preparations and have everything we need on hand, we can finally start having some fun! It’s time to start laying the stone border’s outlines. A garden hose or another flexible object would work well until the final plan is decided upon.

Spray the outline with marking paint once the final plan has been established. Use this as a map to direct your digging.

For long bends, it is recommended to use PVC pipe with a diameter of 1/2 inch and grade stakes. Find the curve’s start and finish points and hammer in a stake at each. When the PVC pipe is wedged between the two end stakes, the necessary curve can be created by pushing the pipe’s center. Hammer the significant stake to secure the line.

The Third Step: Get Ready

Follow the drawn outline from Step 2 and dig a hole about 4 inches deep and 4 inches wide. Depending on the stone used, this may need to be searched more profoundly and comprehensively. The stone should be laid out along the trench’s edge once it has been explored. Design only what can be built that day. Get out the trowel, level, sponge, wheelbarrow, water hose, bucket, rubber mallet, and a bucket of mortar.

Fourth, set up the system.

We may now begin constructing the foundation. To form, combine the mortar in the wheelbarrow, adding just enough water to achieve a peanut-butter-like consistency. To fill a trench with mortar, begin on one side and work your way to the middle. The next step is to place the first stone in the mortar and tap it gently with a rubber mallet to help set it. Use a group as you go to ensure that the border is of consistent (albeit not necessarily level) height. Mortar the spaces between the stones, leaving about 5-foot-apart drain holes for water to flow out of the planted areas. To prevent the mortar from drying and staining the stone, brush it off with a damp sponge every 10 feet. Fill the border with dirt to hide the foundation after waiting a day for the mortar to cure.

Advice: Don’t make more mortar than you can use within 30 minutes, as it will solidify if it sits about for too long. Beige mortar complements the color of some stones. Combine four masonry sand parts with one white Portland cement component to achieve the desired consistency. Before adding water, combine these two ingredients. Both of these should be available in the stone yard. One hundred feet of the border would require 0.5 cubic yards of masonry sand and two cubic feet of white Portland.

Method 5: Have fun with it!

Marcus Pickel runs the Keller, Texas-based landscape design/build company Landscape Escapes, LLC. More details are available at

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