Facing stone, both real rock and synthetic, brings a rustic look to house walls . If you want to use real stone, get split fieldstone. It looks just like a rock wall when installed with attention to the pattern.
Most manufactured stone is more regular in appearance, molded in rough rectangles of different sizes. Installing both materials is much like gluing stones to the wall. Both tend to look better on surfaces that are about 36 inches tall or less, such as a foundation wall or the side of an outdoor barbecue enclosure.
Regardless of the kind of stone you're putting up, the mortar will need a surface with strong tooth to adhere to. Metal lath nailed to the wall is ideal. (Apply felt paper under it on sheathing.) The lath holds the mortar in place. Install the metal lath so the bottoms of the perforations slant down and in toward the wall, not out. Use pressure-treated lumber for the batten and leave it in place. Cover it with soil graded away from the foundation.
About 1 1/2 days to veneer a 20-foot foundation wall
Small sledgehammer, aviation snips, cordless drill, square trowel, pointing trowel, stone chisel, mortar box, mason's hoe, mason's blocks and line, mortar bag, stiff brush, striking tool
Nailing metal lath, spreading mortar, setting stones
Metal lath, concrete nails, pressure-treated 2x4s, stone veneer
Set mason's blocks on the edges of the wall and use it to make sure the horizontal alignment of the courses is roughly in line and the faces of the stones are about the same distance out from the wall. When you have finished the wall, let the mortar cure, then finish the joints.