Building a Rock Wall – originally published by Josh 1/26/15

For Christmas in 2014, my grandma gave us all quite a bit of money.  I wasn’t sure what to do for our 4 boys but knew I wanted to do something that would get them outside.  After looking around the internet for ideas I decided to build a rock wall.  Much of what I based my ideas on came from Ben’s Backyard Climbing Wall.  Without that as a starting point, I think I would have been lost.

My dad had already built our boys a fort which gave me a nice starting point to anchor the wall to.  He also came up with the idea to hang a 4×6 from the fort to an A-frame that we built.  That gave us an anchor 8 feet in the air to attach the wall’s posts to.  Like the wall I based mine on I decided to make my wall 12 feet tall.  To make it strong I used three 16-foot-long 6x6s.  Thankfully, the boards we got were already a bit old and had dried out because otherwise they would have been very heavy.  My dad helped me pick up the beams using his trailer.

Originally, I wanted to put 4 feet of the beams into the ground.  However, where I live the ground contains a lot of clay.  About 1 foot into the ground I found clay, 2 feet down I found a white extremely hard clay.  That white clay was almost impossible to dig with a shovel.  I ended up having to dig a 8.5 foot long trench that allowed me to get in the hole and dig my 3 points where I wanted to put the 6x6s.  I was unable to get the holes 4 feet deep, but got them a little over 3 feet.

digging the hole 2 digging the hole 1

Once we got the beams in the holes we used carriage bolts to hold them to the 4×6 cross beam.  I then put 600 pounds of concrete into the holes to hold the beams in place.


beams in air

I wanted to make the wall look like a castle and I learned how to make a nice pattern at



I currently have one section of the wall done.  It is 4 feet wide by 12 feet tall and goes straight up.  I had to take a break from the wall to work on my bathroom remodel, but plan to revisit the wall soon.  My next section is going to be 4 feet wide by 12 feet tall, but will have a 20 or 30 degree angle leaning back to make for a more difficult climb.  Later when my boys are a bit more proficient, I plan to make a section with a more difficult angle like the end section of the one I copied.


Turns out I don’t have a photo of the entire 12 foot wall just the 8 feet I did at first.  I guess I will have to get a picture and add it.

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