Build a Patio Sitting Wall in 10 Steps

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Stones to build the wall
Pressure washer
Mortar mix
Wheelbarrow or plywood
Rubber mallet
Angle grinder

If you're looking to dress up your patio, consider installing a sitting wall along the perimeter. Not only does it create additional seating, but it will make a small patio seem larger (and not as crowded) because there isn't a need for as many chairs. For example purposes, this article discusses the use of natural stone versus other material such as cast concrete block.

Step 1 – Determine the Location

Choosing where to put a patio sitting wall is the first step. You have the option of creating one or more walls placed along the perimeter of the patio.

Step 2 - Stone Selection

Choose the type of stone for the wall. Visit a center that specializes in natural stone to see the types of stones that are available.

Step 3 - Capstone Selection

An important part of a sitting wall is the part you sit on—the capstone. Visit a mason’s yard to find a capstone that is attractive and blends with the type of stone you've chosen for the sitting wall.

Step 4 - Clean the Surrounding Area

Whether the patio is tiled or has a cement base, thoroughly clean the area of any mold, mildew, dirt, and debris. You may want to use a pressure washer for this.

Step 5 - Outline

Place the capstones along the perimeter where the sitting wall will be constructed. Use chalk to draw along borders of the capstone so you have a guide to follow.

Step 6 - Mortar

Mix mortar in a wheelbarrow or on a piece of plywood to a stiff consistency.

Step 7 - Lay the Stones

Arrange the first layer of stones without mortar until you have a good solid arrangement. Lift each stone and place a dollop of mortar to secure the stone. Return the stone and press it firmly. Clear up any excess mortar that squeezes out from around the wall. Carefully add subsequent layers in the same way without disturbing the previous layer.

Step 8 - Fill in Gaps and Spaces

As each layer of stone is added, place a portion of mortar to secure each stone. Since natural stone will be of different sizes and formations, it's important to "fit" each stone as naturally as possible into each layer, filling in around open spaces and gaps with mortar. Once the stone is in place, wipe off any excess mortar with a wet sponge.

Step 9 - Fit the Capstone

When the final layer of stones is in place, it’s time to fit the capstone. If the top of the wall is irregular, fill in with the mortar mixture and use the trowel to smooth it out evenly. Place a dollop of mortar on the top of every stone and lower the capstone into place. The weight of the stone should be enough to settle it into the mortar. Use a level and a rubber mallet to get the capstone as level as possible. Once it's evenly in place, fill in any open spaces with mortar to ensure a secure fit. Be sure to remove any excess mortar with a wet sponge, immediately.

Step 10 - Soften the Edges

Use the angle grinder to file down any sharp points or jagged edges on each stone to prevent cuts and scratches. Once the mortar has completely dried, the sitting wall is ready for use!