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Easy2 Technologies - Building a Dry Stone Wall Product Demo

Building a Dry Stone Wall Instructions

  • Building a Dry Stonewall

    Building with a wall with stone is beautiful and will not deteriorate like some other materials. This tutorial describes how to build a “dry” stonewall… one without mortar holding the stones together. Because individual stones are able to shift as seasons change, there’s no need to build a foundation below the frost line. Even so, building with stone requires a substantial commitment of time and effort, but the reward is substantial. Be careful and wear a back-support belt since building a stonewall involves repetitive lifting.

  • Overview

    The basic steps to building a freestanding wall are to… design and outline the area of the wall, build the foundation, lay out the first course and subsequent courses carefully, and take care about placement – especially at the corners.

  • Preparation for the Stone Wall

    Stake out the inside line for the wall to follow with wooden stakes and string. Study the staked out area and envision the wall in place to be sure that the placement is correct. Measure the total length , width, and height of your proposed wall. Based on this information, your stone yard can tell you how many tons you’ll need for your project as different types of stone will cover different volumes.

  • Preparation for the Stone Wall

    There are literally hundreds of different varieties of stone. However, there are three basic shapes: a) Field stone is round-ish and “bowling-ball” shaped. b) “Stacking” stone is irregularly shaped but relatively flat. c) "Dressed" stone is carefully cut to be uniform and completely flat. Choose the particular variety want, based on the look you want and price. Dressed stone is more expensive than the other two, but gives the wall a more formal appearance.

  • Preparation for the Stone Wall

    Dig a shallow foundation trench, about eight inches deep and two to three inches wider than the base of your proposed wall. If you have access to a rear-tine tiller, loosen the soil with it before digging. For hills with a slope greater than ten degrees, build a stair-step trench for the wall so each section rests on a flat, level foundation.

  • Preparation for the Stone Wall

    Fill the trench with crushed screenings to the original ground level for a stable foundation. Level the screenings with a a length of board, and check the level with a carpenter’s level. Transport a good selection of stones to where you want to build, using a wheelbarrow or garden cart. This is heavy work, but it’s important to have a variety of sizes and shapes to work with if you’re not using dressed stone.

  • Building the Wall

    Begin to place stones to form the first course of the wall. Fit the stones closely together, like a large jigsaw puzzle. You might find that shaping with a chisel and hammer can help. Lay one course at a time. Vary the size of stones as you progress; following a large stone with several smaller ones. Use larger pieces at an end of the wall for increased stability. Use crushed screenings to level and support uneven stones.

  • Building the Wall

    Two things help strengthen the wall. First, the number of stones that run the full width of the wall. Place stones the width of the wall periodically as you stack each course. Keep in mind that dressed stone walls are usually only one stone wide; so all the stones will run the full width of the wall.

  • Building the Wall

    The second rule for strength is “One over two, two over one.” When you have two stones butted together in a course, place one stone over the seam in the next course. Likewise, where you have a long stone in one course, in the next course place a seam between two stones over that length. Take special care at corners and ends to see that seams never line up from one course to the next. Use larger stones for corners, and alternate the direction of the length of the stones as you stack courses.

  • Building the Wall

    With fieldstones, place each course in the spaces between stones from the course below. Place these stones with the flat side down. As an experienced Vermonter once observed, "Even a round stone has a flat side if you look at it long enough." Hold aside a selection of larger, attractive stones to use as the top course of the wall. The extra weight of larger stones will help stabilize the wall.

 

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