How to Install Stone Veneer on a Garden Wall

October 18, 2021

The garden is the pride of many homeowners, and the beauty that comes with having a stone wall in the garden can be enticing. However, natural stone is expensive, and it usually requires the help of a professional mason. There is one alternative to natural stone with the look and feel of the real thing at a fraction of the price: stone veneer. You can add some exterior faux stone panels to your garden in a retaining wall or even put it on your fence to give you a little more privacy and provide a beautiful backdrop to your garden. Here, we will look at how to install faux stone as a garden wall.

Tools You Will Need

You will need to gather some tools before you can get started installing your faux stone. These are the recommended tools for installing faux stone on any surface and some for installing it on specific materials.

Recommended Tools:

  • Hand Saw
  • Utility Knife
  • Tape Measure
  • Caulking Gun for a 10 oz Tube
  • Screwdriver Bits
  • Drill
  • Framing Square
  • Level
  • Sandpaper
  • Marker
  • Gloves
  • Safety Goggles/Glasses
  • Polyurethane safe, premium construction adhesive, preferably PL-200 or PL-300

Optional Tools:

  • Table Saw
  • Compound Miter Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Power Sander
  • Rubber Mallet

Additional tools for the material you are installing your faux stone on:

Tools for applying to wood

  • 1.625” Non-Corrosive Deck Screws
  • 2.5” Non-Corrosive Deck Screw (for Ledger)

Tools for applying to brick or concrete

  • Tapcon Screws
  • Masonry Screwdriver Bits

Tools for applying to gypsum board

  • 6” x 1.25” Drywall Screws

Step One: How much do you need?

The first thing to do is determine how much faux stone you will need for your garden wall. We recommend you measure the linear feet in the area you will be installing the faux stone on. This resource has detailed information on how to measure your faux stone.

Step Two: Lay Out the Panels

There are four different panel types for each color, which you can lay out to have a more natural look to the stone. Try not to put two of the same panel next to each other; it looks less natural when that occurs. Instead, sort out the different types of panels on the ground to put a random design together before you begin to install it in your garden. This resource has detailed information on exterior faux stone panels.

Step Three: Measure and Mark the Panels

Since you are installing this in your garden, you will probably need to cut some spaces in your panels for a water spigot or outdoor electrical outlets. We recommend you measure twice before you cut. Depending on what type of saw you are using, there are two different ways to measure and mark out where you need to cut the stone veneer panels.

If you are using a hand or circular saw, measure and mark where you need to cut on the back of the panel. Make sure your lines are straight with a straight edge or level.

If you are using a table saw, mark the point to start cutting on the front of the panel and place it on the table with the flat side down.

Step Four: Cut the Faux Stone Panels

After you mark where to cut, you can get started cutting them. If you are cutting small pieces, the best saw to use is a compound meter. However, if you do not have one, a jigsaw and hand saw will work instead.

If you need to cut space for an outlet or spigot, a keyhole saw, drill hole saw, or jigsaw is recommended.

Step Five: Prepare the Surface

Before you start attaching your faux stone panels, take the time to prepare the surface you plan to install the stone veneer to. Make sure the surface is completely clean and dry. If you are installing it on brick, sand it down to ensure it is completely even before you begin installation. If you are installing stone veneer on a chain-link fence, you will need to wrap chicken wire around the fence, then apply a thin layer of concrete to it, so that you have something for the stone to adhere to.

Step Six: Attach the Panels

Start with the corner pieces. Draw a vertical line on each side of the corner, far enough away that they will show when you test the fitting of the corner pieces. You may need to trim the corner piece so that it will fit better. Keep the positive shiplap edge at the top when you install.

Once you have done your test fit, apply a layer of your construction adhesive to the back of each panel in an S pattern in a 3/8" bead.

Next, make a pilot hole where you will be placing each screw with a hammer drill. Now you can attach the panel and attach the screws through the positive shiplap edge. You will only need one screw in each corner of the panel.

If you are attaching the stone veneer to a wood surface, like a fence, apply a moisture barrier first to protect the wood before attaching it with 2.5" deck screws.

Step Seven: Apply Caulk

Once you have finished attaching all of your faux stone panels, you will need to apply caulking to the panels. Apply the caulk to every screw that is visible and to the finger tabs and positive shiplap edges in a thin bead. The caulking can take up to two weeks to fully cure, so make sure alcohol and solvents are kept away from it in this timeframe.

Step Eight: Touch Up the Panels

Once the caulk has cured for two weeks, you can cover the screws with touch-up paint to hide them better. You can also use the touch-up paint to cover any cosmetic damage or exposed foam from cutting the panels.

Step Nine: Finished!

You have finished adding stone veneer to a garden wall, and now you can relax and admire the fruits of your labor. This installation can be done over a single weekend, depending on how big the wall is, and it is completely DIY-friendly.


Auz Burger is a freelance writer who specializes in faux stone and brick veneer and home DIY projects. She has a BA from Washington State University and has been writing and editing professionally for 11 years.

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