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Building Stone Wall

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2005-04-27          110434


I plan on building a dry stone wall, maybe 100 feet long, to edge a bank of dirt I had to put underneath my pool fence so it didn't violate >6 feet high fence zoning in my area. I have imperfect stone I have collected from stone walls and treks up into the woods. Anyone have any hints for making the wall look as professional as possible? I know that I need to have a good base, have patience, etc. But are there tricks to stacking methods, framing, etc? This is not rock that I'll be able to easily shape or chisel.

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Building Stone Wall

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7155 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2005-04-27          110435


A couple of things come to mind.

First & foremost, you MUST prevent the dirt behind the wall from eroding or the wall will not last. Geotextile fabric is a must to prevent silt from running out between the rocks.

Secondly, a little strategically placed mortar between the rocks, it doesn't take much if the rocks are clean, will go a long way in the 'stickum' department.

Finally, be sure the soil behind the wall is absolutely as well compacted as possible and besure the ground is graded such that NO water is directed to, or especially, over the edge of the wall. Running water will destroy even the best or mightiest wall, fast!

Best of luck. ....

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Building Stone Wall

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shortmagnum
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 848 Wisconsin
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2005-04-27          110437


Murf, it's good to see you're back.

I have a stone retaining wall project too this summer. Right now it's held back by leftover cement blocks. The cells are filled with unused mortar and rebar. So far it's held up pretty well but it's pretty unsightly. Actually you can see the spot in my pic #14. I strategically placed the swing/slide in front of it so you can't see the ugly block wall. Hopefully I can just lay the stone in front of the block and just leave them in place. In the mean time it will be intesting to see how ncrunch's wall works out.
Dave ....

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Building Stone Wall

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2005-04-27          110438


Thanks Murf and Dave. Actually it will only be 3 feet high at the max and starting from a foot - the property slopes down from left to right. Not sure whether I will get to this project this year - but I usually get more done than I expect to. Good idea about the fabric to keep dirt out. I ordered a book for $12 from Barnes and Noble (John Vivian - How to Build Stone Walls) - a very old book.

I think some people just have a knack for how to place rocks - maybe just takes not rushing the job. I carted many of these stones off my wife's grandma's property before we sold it. It will be sentimental to my wife to have Grandma's wall on our own property. Grandma lived to be 101 - walked 2 miles a day until she was 93, passed away a few years ago. ....

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Building Stone Wall

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denwood
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 542 Quarryville PA
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2005-04-27          110446


One common error most people fall for is the need to use every stone. Part of that comes from not wanting to obtain any more than the bare minimum. Sometimes there will be waste if you want it to look good and be sturdy. Just think of it as a 100 piece puzzle with 150 pieces. ....

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Building Stone Wall

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jimharr
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7 Minnesota
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2005-04-27          110451


You need to put drainage rock for a thickness of about 12" behind the wall. You can stop towards the top, put a layer of fabric then dirt. The fabric will stop the dirt from sifting through the rock and settling. With out the drainage rock, moisture can accumulate behind the wall and when it freezes will push the wall out. We use 1 1/2" screened limestone. Any thing of this size that is screened will work. ....

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Building Stone Wall

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shortmagnum
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 848 Wisconsin
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2005-04-28          110460


ncrunch, is the rock you have the roundish type like fieldstone, or is it the flatter, more easily stackable type? The fieldstone type looks good when you actually see mortar joints between the rocks. I don't know how this solid wall would hold up as a retaining wall though.
Dave ....

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