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Garden Walling: build your own Wonderwall

Natural stone or reconstituted stone walling?

Your choice of garden walling is between natural stone on the one hand and concrete or reconstituted stone on the other.  Of course, there’s a big difference in price - natural stone comes in at least double the price of manufactured walling, but for good reason.  Natural stone is precision cut and carefully sourced from quarries in the UK or as far away as India.  It’s gorgeous and has all the subtle surface textures you’d expect.  Reconstituted stone walling is made from real stone particles and the blocks are moulded to resemble the textures and surface detail of natural stone.  With reconstituted products, you’ll get a wide choice of colours and finishes, especially if you’re looking for something contemporary.

Stone wall veneers – what are they?

From £56.23 Per Pack
From £97.37 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

Clever manufacturers have come up with the idea of a stone wall veneer.  These are basically thin natural stone blocks glued (and held into position by nifty invisible frames) onto your original wall.  You get all the looks of a stunning brand new stone wall and of course it’s much cheaper than constructing an entirely new one - ingenious!

Retaining or load-bearing walls

£56.54 Per Pack
£94.24 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

If you intend to build a wall which holds back earth on a slope or a terrace, you’ll need a suitable walling product.  If your wall is going to be more than 1m in height it would be a good move to get a professional installer in to do the work.  You’ll need concrete or natural stone blocks that are frost resistant.  Ordinary bricks are just not strong enough, so if in any doubt, talk to your supplier.  A good builder’s merchant - such as Turnbull - will make sure you’ve got the right product for the job.

The point of coping stones and caps

These little accessories are more expense, to be sure, but as well as making your wall look smart, they do an important technical job.  They stop water saturating the wall face which in turn limits the build up of algae and damage to the pointing.  Coping stones have shallow grooves on their undersides which catch the run off rain and let it drip harmlessly away from the blockwork.  Most walling ranges come with matching coping stones or offer a contrasting colour choice to add a design detail.  And if you choose a flat coping stone style for a low garden wall around a patio, it can also serve as seating!

How to build a garden wall

From £382.85 Per Pack
From £68.36 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

Take a look at www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzM23fh8h98 for advice on footings and levelling through to laying and pointing a brick or block wall.  The product in the film is Marshalite Pitched Faced Walling, a light-coloured, textured walling stone ideal for a single-skinned low wall.

Garden walls and planning permission

You’ll need planning permission if your wall is over 1 metre high and next to a road or footpath, or over 2 metres high elsewhere.  You'll also need it if your house is a listed building or in the curtilage of a listed building or if your wall forms a boundary with a neighbouring listed building or its garden.
You don’t need permission to take down a wall, or to alter, maintain or improve an existing wall (no matter how high) if you don't increase its height.  In a conservation area, however, you might need planning permission for demolition, so best check.

Trend for green walls and vertical gardening

Finally, an exciting innovation is the green wall or living wall, constructed with steel wires for climbers or troughs and designed to be fixed to existing garden walls or buildings.  As well as looking amazing, designers of living walls claim all kinds of benefits from weather protection thru wildlife habitat provision to improved air quality.  Some people are even planting them up with veg, and creating an edible wall!

Green Walls