A garden wall defines the landscape and the borders in the garden. But this wall is a plain, unattractive stone wall most of the time. A well-decorated wall can definitely make a difference to the look of your garden.
Installation of stone veneer on the block wall is a good option. It's not very expensive and the job can be finished in a day or two, depending upon the area of your wall. Moreover, you can do it yourself with easily available materials and a few handy tools.
- Masonry nails or masonry screws
- Wall ties
- Metal lath
- Galvanized roofing nails
- Roofing felt
- Brick trowel
- Wheelbarrow or mud box
- Masonry chisel
- Masonry joiner (optional)
- Drill/driver with bits
- Dust mask
Preparing the Surface
The veneer should always rest on a solid footing, irrespective of whether you are installing it for a garden wall or a cinder block foundation. The three most common surfaces for walls or foundations are: unsealed, sealed, and wood. You first need to prepare the masonry surface.
- For Unsealed Masonry: You need clean, unsealed masonry walls and wall ties that fasten the veneer to the existing structure. Wall ties can be fastened with the masonry nails or screws. Every square foot of wall surface should be installed with a single tie.
- For Sealed Masonry: The sealer has to be removed by sand blasting before installing the veneer on it. The rest of the procedure is similar to that of an unsealed masonry. However, if the sealer cannot be removed, then you will have to fasten the metal lath to the structure with some masonry nails or screws.
- For Wood Masonry: Use roofing felt to nail the wood in order to build a vapor barrier. Fasten the metal lath and apply a scratch coat of mortar. This makes the masonry surface ideal for laying the stone.
Laying the Stone
If you have a very long wall, it is better to work gradually, as it can smoothen the process. If the stones are to be laid on the original footing or on an extended footing, install a flashing over it. This prevents water from leaching under the new stone. Prepare a thick, consistent mixture of mortar. Moisten the surface of the masonry so that water does not percolate and a stronger bond between the mortar and the wall is created.
Apply a thin coat of mortar to the small section at the bottom of the wall. Then, take the stone and press it on the bottom, and move it slightly back and forth to position it perfectly. Do not press too hard, as the mortar will come off the wall. Continue laying the stones at the bottom, until you reach the end of the wall. Once you do, start laying the stones on the first layer. Similarly, lay the next courses. You will need to fill the gaps between the large stones with smaller stones. Also, make sure that you interlock each course in order to stagger the joints.
Dress the joints before the mortar is completely set. Clean the faces of the stone and don't allow any mortar to set there. You can use a damp rag or a brush for cleaning. Once, the mortar sets properly, you can seal the wall with a masonry sealer.
Occasionally, moisten your wall as the mortar tends to dry out, rendering the wall weak. Stone veneer installation is a great way to beautify your otherwise plain block walls. Also, doing it yourself gives your friends and family a chance to admire your handiwork.