How to lay sandstone ballast

1. Firstly, dig a trench for footings depending on the size of your wall. If you are building a wall 1 metre high you will need to dig it to a depth of 300mm deep x 400mm wide. Place reinforced steel in the trench which is then filled with concrete.

2. Lay your first course of stone using cement. Sandstone can be shaped and rock faced using hammer and bolster to fit between other stones.  Keep your first course staggered in height so you don’t have straight lines. Remember to use a string line for the length of the wall keeping it straight and moving it up throughout the job.

3. Use small pieces between the lower stones in order to meet the height of the taller one next to it. You can then place another stone on top of both of those, breaking the bond of the vertical joints i.e do not have straight vertical joints as this will weaken the structure of the wall and it is very likely to crack. Keep laying the stone until you reach your required height.

4. When you have reached your required height you can finish off the top by ‘rock facing’ the top of the stone as well as the face. Or use capping flagging rock or diamond-sawn stone.

5. Cleaning the cement off the stone needs to be done at the end of each day otherwise it will stain and it’s very difficult to clean off once it’s hard. This can be done using a bucket of water and a stiff bristled brush.