A Complete Breakdown of the Cost to Build a Stone Wall

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated February 25, 2022
A living room with a stone wall behind the sofa
Photo: Image Source / Image Source / Getty Images

The national average to install a stone wall is $4,900, but prices can run as low as $800 and as high as $15,000

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On average, the cost to build a stone wall ranges from $800 to $15,000, with labor making up the majority of the bill. Stonework is truly an art form, so you will pay more for experienced masons than general contractors. Whether you're adding a veneer wall to the side of your house or a dry-stacked beauty around the perimeter of your home, we've got you covered in this guide.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Stone Wall by Size?

Stone walls are deceivingly tricky to design. It's not just about puzzle-piecing stone together with a bit of mortar. Nearly all stone walls require their own footing and foundation as well as a drainage system to work with the natural flow of water beneath the ground.

It's not uncommon to think that walling stone prices are the main focus. After all, without the stones themselves, what is there? But locally sourced materials can run relatively low, while labor makes up over two-thirds of your bottom line.

Let's look at material and labor pricing to install a stone wall based on the size of your project.

Natural Stone Wall

Natural rock walls cost between $25 to $80 per square foot for materials and $15 to $30 per square foot of labor. In some cases, designers may charge by the hour as well. Masons cost a bit higher in exchange for their expertise at $70 to $110 an hour and contractors or less-experienced masonry professionals range from $30 to $50 an hour.

Stone Veneer

Stone veneer is a bit easier and predictable to work with. It is also easy to find in a range of styles. Materials will cost $10 to $25 per square foot, whereas labor will run $10 to $15 for the same amount.

You may encounter higher prices for unique wall installations and types of stone, but we'll dive into that more below.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Stone Wall Near My Home?

The average national range to build a rock wall runs from $2,250 to $7,800, but where you live has a significant say in your bill. Factor in local permit costs, the price of materials, and, most importantly, local labor prices.

Let's take a look at a few states in different regions to know what to expect.

StateCost
Alabama$3,650
Colorado$3,400
Georgia$5,500
New York$6,500
Oregon$5,200
Texas$2,900

What Kind of Stone Wall Can I Get on My Budget?

The two main numbers to consider are materials and labor. If you want a small yet upscale stone accent wall—like one that lines a small rock garden—labor costs will be lower. However, you may decide to use a more expensive natural stone for this project, increasing the cost of your rock wall. 

On the other hand, let's say your patio requires a 50-foot stone veneer wall. Materials cost less but the length of the wall and its structural requirements increase labor. 

Here are some example projects that fit in each budget.

Under $1000

Using our hypothetical stone wall cost calculator, this lower price bracket may include 5- to 10-foot stone walls to separate your lawn and garden. Perhaps you're adding a small wall behind a koi pond or around a large tree in your front yard. Overall, smaller walls with less-intensive labor fall under $1,000.

$2,000 to $3,000

Add a dry-stacked wall over 10 square feet to add depth to a hilly landscape. These line gazebos, seating areas, or outdoor dining patios. The higher end of this range also includes small retaining walls.

$3,000 to $7,000

Larger stone fence or wall projects open up to you in this range, particularly if your wall requires extensive drainage. For example, the cost of a low fieldstone fence is between $40 to more than $80 an hour to install.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Stone Wall Myself?

A worker building a stone wall
Photo: wittybear / Adobe Stock

Your local laws will likely dictate whether building a stone wall yourself is the right plan, even if it saves you money upfront. As we mentioned, labor is by far the largest expense—cut this out and you're left only with the cost of materials, equipment, and permits.

However, some towns only allow certified contractors to build rock walls over a certain length or height. If they do allow you to tackle it on your own, you may have to pass an inspection once it's complete.

That being said, if you're adding some decorative stones around your garden or outdoor pond, DIY may be a great option. Natural stone costs between $25 and $80 per square foot. Remember to add the cost of basic equipment to support your rocks, such as shovels and a wheelbarrow.

Stone Wall Cost Breakdown

The best masons and contractors will break down your estimate by cost. If you have a moment of sticker shock, stone wall construction costs can run a bit higher than expected when you break down the extra line items.

Let's take a look:

  • Materials: $15 to $80 per square foot, depending on the type of stone and wall you choose

  • Labor: $30 to $110 an hour for either a general contractor or professional mason

  • Permits and inspection: $100 to $500, depending on local laws

  • Drainage solutions: $1,000 to $5,000 for walls that require drainage (most do)

  • Land surveying fees: $300 to $750 if you plan to line the outside of your property

How Much Does a Stone Wall Cost by Style?

Stone walls can elevate your sprawling landscape into the head-turning envy of the neighborhood. Walls add natural levels that double as steps, seating, and opportunities for colorful flowers and shrubs to offset the stone.

Here are some common styles of stone walls and what to expect on the bill.

Fieldstone Fences

Fieldstone provides that rustic right-out-of-the-Shire look to your landscape. Uneven stones come together into a cohesive wall that either lines your property or shapes your flower garden. 

Expect stone fence costs between $25 to $75 per square foot for a fieldstone retaining wall and $40 to $80 per hour of labor plus the cost of materials for a dry-stacked wall.

Retaining Wall

Retaining walls play double-duty—or even triple-duty—in your landscape. Most importantly, these walls prevent major erosion in an uneven landscape. Their stability and placement, however, make excellent seating and a prime focal point of your yard.

A retaining wall's structural challenges can raise the average price. The average cost of a natural stone retaining wall is $8,500, including materials, labor, foundation, and drainage costs.

Dry-Stacked Wall

You'll need an expert to dry stack stones since these walls don't use any binding agent to stay together. Expect $40 to over $80 an hour plus the cost of materials and extras like land surveys or permits based on their size and placement.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Build a Stone Wall?

No two landscapes are the same, and with it, neither are two stone walls. A handful of factors can nudge the price in one direction or the other.

In addition to the cost factors listed above—materials, labor, permits, etc.— here are a few extra things to keep in mind:

  • The slope of your lawn or major obstacles in the way could increase labor costs

  • Some large stone walls require the cost of a structural engineer

  • The area around the wall may require additional landscaping after the work is complete

  • You may need additional stone or paver work for the adjoining patios or walkways

Stone Wall FAQs

From hand-stacked garden accents to winding walls that line your landscape, stone walls can add structure to your lawn and showcase its natural beauty.

What material should I pick for my stone wall?

Choose from an abundance of natural and synthetic options when perfecting your hardscape design. Stone veneer costs a bit less, holds up against the tests of time and weather, and also works best in curves and complex walls.

Natural stone, however, provides that organic look to a lawn while providing just as much strength as veneer. Don't forget you can chat with your mason about other common wall materials like brick, cinderblock, and concrete

How do I find a local mason?

Always work with licensed and certified masons in your area. Just like all home designers, they should provide an impressive portfolio and offer a free estimate for the project. Pick the pro who fits your budget, schedule, and most importantly, helps you realize your landscape vision.

What should I consider when building a stone wall?

Stone walls offer both beauty and function. Take a look at your landscape and consider where your lawn and garden could benefit from the extra stone support. 

A masonry professional can then transform your idea into a concrete design, including:

  • The best materials for the job

  • How the wall will blend with your landscape

  • Additional structural features to support your wall

  • Ongoing maintenance tips for keeping your wall strong and stunning

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