A Dry retaining wall is constructed without mortar. The dry wall depends on the weight and friction of one stone on another for stability. therefore, walls over 2 feet high, require a batter of 2" back for every 1 foot in height. when starting a drywall, the first stones can be laid approximately 6 inches below grade.
There is no elaborate footing required for a drywall since the stones are not bonded together and will raise and lower with the frost. Larger stones should be used for the first layer. A line should then be strung along the wall as a guide to keep the rest of the wall straight.
Now, Construct batter boards. These are Wedge shaped, flat on one side, sloping on the other. When driven into the ground at the edge of the wall, they afford a quick check on the inward slopes of the wall. Be sure the batter board is at right angles with the ground by checking with a level.
For best results, lay stones as they would lie naturally on the ground. Do not turn them on end. Try to break up joint lines so that continuous lines do not appear. Install a continuous drain surrounded by course gravel.
In smaller dry walls (up to 2 feet high), a batter is not always necessary. A stone coping can also be placed on this wall as well as on larger battered walls.
A wet retaining wall uses mortar to stabilize the wall. Cement mortar is used between stones to secure them together and achieve a monolithic wall. There are two requirements 1) a footing of either solid stone or concrete 2) drainage weep holes must be placed in the wall to allow water to flow through the wall
Construction on this type of wall is started much like in dry wall construction, with the exception of the footing. The batter on this wall should be 1 inch back for every 1 foot in height. In mixing the mortar, use one part cement for every 2 parts of sand and mix with water to a workable consistency. Pack all voids solid with mortar to achieve a tight wall, taking care not to get cement on the face of the stones.
Drain tiles should be placed in coarse gravel at the back of the wall , and weep holes (rust free pipe) used throughout the wall to let out water that would accumulate behind the wall
A Free standing wall can be constructed the same way as a wet or dry wall. It is a double faced application of a retaining wall that is not retaining anything. construction methods are similar, except that drainage tiles and weep holes are not needed