There is no mortar or other adhesive material used in this type of wall and therefore, it is inherently porous.
Because any excess water that may build up behind it can escape through the spaces in the stone, you dont get the cracking you can get with a brick and mortar wall.
Make sure the gloves youre using are pretty heavy duty. Even with gloves, your hands will take a beating. You will be sore the next day if your wall is of any size, but again, you will have done it yourself and with the pain here, is a lot to gain.
You will start to build a retaining wall by staking its outline using with the string and then spraying it out with the spray paint.
Go with a 2 foot width for every 3 feet in height. So a 3 foot high wall will have a 2 foot base. You will taper it off 2 inches for every foot in height for stability, so the 3 foot wall will be 6 inches narrower at the top than at the base of the dry stack retaining wall.
Lay a stone that can span the width of the wall every 4-5 feet at the base. Starting at the front of the wall, begin laying stones perpendicular to the base stones and then do a row in the back of the wall.
Fill in larger gaps with smaller or broken stones and tap them into place with the rubber mallet. Keep the stones as level as you can.
Each successive layer should taper in by the amount you calculated at the beginning of the project.
Sorting the sizes and shapes of the stones at the onset will keep the project moving at a good pace. Dont expect everything to look uniform; it is the casual, natural look that makes this dry stack retaining wall look beautiful.
If you can lay the topmost layer with just one stone to span the width, it makes for a nice seating area as well.
Occasionally, youll have to adjust some of the top layers since theyll shift a bit especially if you sit on them a lot but overall, this is a very low maintenance wall to keep.
Check out our information on a wood retaining wall to compare.