How Much Stone Do I Need to Build a Wall?

A Simple Formula for Beginners

Stone wall with field of sunflowers in back of it.
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If you are wondering how much stone you need to build a wall, it is likely to be more than you think. That may not seem helpful, but it is actually an important fact to remember. You always need more stones than you think. The more stones you have to choose from, the easier it will be to find the stone that you are looking for when you start building your stone wall.

Use This Simple Formula

For a more exact answer, we can use a simple formula.

The stones used to build a stone wall, like crushed stone, stone dust, and many other building materials, are often measured in cubic yards. Stones can also be measured and sold by the ton. Use this equation to figure out how much stone you need to build a stone wall: (length in feet x width in feet x height in feet) / 27  = cubic yards of stone needed.

So, if you are building a stone wall that is 20 feet long, 2 feet wide and 3 feet high, you would use the formula like this:

  •   20 feet x 2 feet x 3 feet = 120 feet
  •   120/27 = 4.44 cubic yards of stone

You would need a little less than 4 ½ yards of stone to build your stone wall. But round up and buy at least 5 yards. If you can afford it, get 6 or even 7 yards. You can use any leftover stone that you have in a variety of other landscaping projects, ranging from water features to rock gardens to landscape steps.

How Many Tons of Stone is Needed?

Some places sell stone by the ton.

To determine how many tons of stone you need to build your stone wall, simply multiply the number of yards by 1.5.

  •  4.44 x 1.5 = 6.66 tons of stone

Again, you will want to round up.

Choosing the Right Rocks

When building a stone wall, it is important to choose the right kind of stone. The rocks you choose will play a large role in how the stone wall will look when you are finished.

Your stone wall can be formal or informal, imposing or inviting, depending on the rocks you select. There are many different kinds of stones from which to choose.

Sometimes, it is fun to mix a variety of rocks together. There are large types, small types, flat types, round types, and irregularly shaped types of rock. All of this variety adds visual interest to a stone wall.

Rocks that are big and blocky give the appearance of strength and sturdiness. Rocks that are relatively square and rectangular are easy to fit together, which means your wall may go together faster than if you used more irregularly shaped rocks.

Round stones create beautiful garden stone walls or retaining walls, but they can be challenging to work with. Because of their irregular shapes, fitting them together can be difficult. Building a stone wall with round rocks requires patience and a lot of trial and error.