How to lay limestone blocks

Limestone blocks are a fantastic construction material for a wide range of uses in and around the home. Thanks to its extraordinarily durability and stunning, earthy aesthetic, limestone makes for a particularly good choice for garden features and retaining wall blocks in Perth and across Australia.

Knowing How to Lay Limestone Blocks

Before you get stuck into your own backyard do-it-yourself project, make sure you read our handy article on how to lay limestone blocks. There’s a lot to consider beyond and before the actual placing of the limestone. A little time and preparation before will ensure you avoid costly and frustrating mistakes later on.

A step-by-step guide on how to build a retaining wall with limestone blocks

While this how-to guide will be focused on retaining walls, with a few tweaks you can use the same methodology for building garden walls and other features in your yard.

Make Plans

Planning your wall is a very important first step. To begin, consider the soil conditions. Some types of soil may make laying limestone more complicated. A quick rule of thumb is that the firmer and more compact the soil the more stable your limestone retaining wall is going to be. If you’re unsure how to assess your soil’s conditions, you can always get in touch with a soil engineer for an expert opinion.

Next comes the planning of the wall itself. Knowing what your retaining wall is going to be used for, how many blocks you need and exactly where it’s going will make the entire process smoother and less prone to problems.

Get Council Approval

Some shires and councils in Perth require you to submit the construction of retaining walls and other stone features for approval. There are regulations for fencing and walls that are higher than 1 metre, so we strongly advise you to contact your local council for more information regarding the application process and for details about what needs to be approved.

Lay Out the Blocks

Once you’re ready to begin the actual construction, make sure you know how many limestone blocks you’re going to need by laying them out. Make sure to use a reliable laser level to ensure the heights of the blocks on the compacted soil base are straight and level.

Dig the Trench

We recommend digging your trench about 11-18 centimetres deep. Of course, the width of your trench will depend on the size of the blocks you’re looking to lay.

Once the trench is dug to the right measurements, place a wooden stake into the ground in all four corners of the trench. Using string, you can create a visual marker to help keep the limestone blocks straight and level.

Lay the Limestone Blocks

Now comes the time to actually begin placing the limestone blocks into the trench.

Start at the edge and make sure to check that the block is positioned straight.

Once you’ve placed the first block, you can start laying the others in line. We recommend leaving a gap of about 2 centimetres between each block.

Remember: Work slowly and meticulously to ensure that the blocks are all straight. The string you placed from stake to stake will help guide you when laying the limestone.

Prepare the Mortar

When you’ve finished laying the limestone blocks and are confident that they are in place and straight you’re ready to start preparing the limestone mortar. Using a wheelbarrow, mix 6 parts of bricklaying sand to 1 part lime and 1 part cement. Using a trowel, mix the mortar in the wheelbarrow.

You’ll know that the mix is ready when it is wet and malleable but still sufficiently thick that it won’t lose its shape when applied between the limestone bricks.

Apply the Mortar

With the limestone mortar ready, you can use your trowel to carefully apply and spread it in the crevices and spaces you left between your blocks. Take the time to ensure it is applied evenly and comprehensively.

When your mortar is all applied and placed, leave it for 20 minutes. Once the mortar has set, you can gently wipe the excess off of the other blocks using a damp cloth.

During this time, you can spread about 2 centimetres of mortar along the top of the first layer of limestone blocks.

Lay the Next Layer of Blocks

Now’s the time to build up the limestone retaining wall by placing the next layer of blocks. Keep the same 2-centimetre gap between each block of limestone. Once it is all placed, repeat the process of applying mortar to the crevices of the next level.

Remember that when you add a layer, use half blocks for each end with full-sized blocks through the middle. This achieves two different important things. Firstly, it ensures the retaining wall will be stronger and longer lasting. Secondly, you’ll be able to achieve that classic, staggered brickwork look.

Keep Working Until You’re Done

Once you’ve added layer number two, it’s time to keep going. Following the same method, keep adding the layers to your retaining block until you’re happy with the height of your new garden wall or feature!

Bonus Tip: Keep Water Away!

While you’re learning how to lay limestone blocks for your retaining wall, make sure you keep water away. Water, especially high-pressured water, can cause damage to your construction and weather away at your limestone blocks.

If necessary, hire a professional to provide drainpipes and other drainage solutions to keep the entire area clear and dry.

Find Your Limestone at Remastone, the Leading Provider of Retaining Wall Blocks Perth.

At Remastone, we’ll help you with everything you need. Whether you need assistance with learning how to lay limestone blocks for walls and other garden features or sourcing the highest quality and super strong limestone blocks, make sure to contact us today.