I've decided to do a technical blog post to share some of the knowledge I've learned over the years. I know its not rocket science but it does take some common sense and grunt power. My demonstration will show effort I am putting into my own landscape, so the effort probably isn't a professional defined effort. In other words it's Down and Dirty. If I was getting paid for this it would be more refined.
First things first. Find some stone. Mine comes from the ditch, as my residence is in the Flint Hills of Kansas, limestone everywhere. Ditch stone is also defined as field stone, not refined, trimmed, blocked, or cut. Very irregular in thickness. If you have some cash, buy from a stone yard as most of their product is picked and stacked with more uniform sizes and thicknesses.
Notice how this stone is thicker on one end than the other: typical field stone. Beggars can't be choosers. I also got some from a neighbor I gave pass along plants to. What's good for the goose...enough of the cliche's!...
After laying out your outline or form along your border or planting bed(I like to use white spray paint), excavate deep enough for a 2-3" layer of gravel and a 2" layer of base material. And the thickness of your stone. Have quite a few stones laid out near you work area for selection.
After excavating, add gravel for expansion and a solid base. I prefer 3/4" crushed limestone at 2-3" thickness. Unfortunately all I had was river rock which is more rounded but it will work fine too. Compact with a tamper and make somewhat level. More than likely the grade of the gravel will change because of the irregular thickness of the field stone. That is one reason why purchased stone is mo better.
On top of the gravel add some form of base material. I use gravel screenings from crushed limestone. Screenings are usually left over from the gravel sizing process and is leftover material. Sand can also be used. Tamp this 1-3". Tip on field stone: if you make this layer a little thicker you'll have more wiggle room in thickness when you add the irregular thicknesses of field stone.
Add the selected stone to the compacted area.
Scratch or mark the area to be trimmed. Have cold chisels and handy hammer ready. Strike scratched line with hammer on chisel lightly the first pass, some people strike both sides or use a hand grinder to form a break line. Cross my fingers hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.?. Hope it breaks straight.
Well, I got most of it right. When striking be sure the stone is stable with no space underneath the stone.
Place in excavation, tamp a little, not too much or it may crack. Top of stone should be level with existing grade. This is dependent on the slope. I usually use a torpedo level to check the heights between the stones laid. You can see I added chips in the gaps between the stones. You could use soil and add plants, add base material, or could use gravel.
Lastly back fill stone with gravel on inside edge for expansion. Level bed with soil removed or with mulch. If you live in a area with warm season grasses like Bermuda, this type of edging is not the best to use as the stolons and rhizomes will venture in. I have added steel edging on the outside of these areas.
Ohh...one more tip. Use your best stones near highly visible areas such as entrances and areas viewed from indoors. Happy Edging!!!