Installing a stone edging provides an easy and inexpensive way to make a vegetable or flower garden more visually appealing. Not only does a natural fieldstone garden edging improve the overall attractiveness of your property but it also helps keep your garden soil contained in the beds during rainy seasons. Natural fieldstone is available for purchase in rock centers or you can save money by harvesting stones yourself from your own fields or those of a neighbor or friend. If you opt to gather your own stones, allow plenty of time to collect and sort the rocks.
Experiment with designs using a garden hose to create curved lines for your stone edging. Determine the height, width and length of your fieldstone edging. Keep the height under 3 feet so you don't have to use mortar to bond the stones together.
Draw a sketch of your garden edging with a pencil on a piece of graph paper. Spray paint the ground to mark the front edge (face) of the proposed stone edging.
Dig a 6-inch-deep footer trench with a shovel along the entire length of the spray-painted marking line. Make sure the trench is at least 6 inches wider than the base of your wall; for example, if your wall is going to be 10 inches wide, then the footer trench should be minimally 16 inches wide.
Fill the footer trench with gravel or sand, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top for the base layer of stones. Level the footer material with the back of your shovel. Lay the bottom course (layer) of stone, fitting the edges of the field stones together closely. Use large, flat fieldstone for the base layer to provide solid support for your rock edging.
Layer the rest of your stone edging one layer at a time, building it up until it is the desired height. Stagger the joints between the stones in each layer to help strengthen the wall. Angle the stones slightly toward the garden to offset the pressure of the garden soil pushing against the stone edging.
Sprinkle gravel along the inside of the fieldstone edging to facilitate water drainage in your garden. Backfill garden soil inside the stone edging. Put in enough soil to bring the level of the garden within about 2 inches of the top edge of the stone edging.