There’s something about a well-crafted dry stone wall that just feels incredibly satisfying to walk on. The process of creating one is laborious and time-consuming, but the end result is an intricate structure that can withstand the test of time. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the techniques you can use to create your own dry stone wall – whether you’re looking to build something small for your garden or something much larger for a backyard oasis. So mark the date in your diary, because this is one project you won’t want to miss!
What is a dry stone wall?
Dry stone walls are a type of wall made from large, flat stones that are not laid in mortar. They are often used as garden or landscape barriers and can be seen in many different parts of the world. How are they built?
Dry stone walls are built by laying large, flat stones on top of one another in a pattern called a voussoir. The stones are held together by natural adhesive forces and cannot be pulled apart easily. How do they work?
Dry stone walls have several advantages over other types of wall construction. First, they are very strong and can withstand a lot of pressure. Second, because the stones are not attached to each other with mortar, they can be moved or reshaped easily if necessary. Finally, because the stones are flat, they can be painted or stained to match the surrounding landscape without having to use any additional materials.
How does a dry stone wall work?
A dry stone wall is an earthen construction technique used in the Middle East, and Europe from about 6000 BC to the present day. The basic idea is to build a wall by laying small, uniform stones without mortar. Once the wall is complete, it can be protected with a layer of earth or other material.
Types of Dry Stone Walls
Dry stone walls (DSW) are a type of masonry construction used in the British Isles and parts of Europe. They are composed of small, roughly hewn, square or rectangular blocks of stone laid side by side without mortar. The blocks are usually set in courses, with the gaps between them filled with a mixture of sand and clay. The finished wall has an interesting texture due to the variation in size and shape of the stones. DSWs are very sturdy constructions, able to withstand a great deal of pressure and weathering.
How to Build a Dry Stone Wall
If you’re looking for an easy way to add some rustic charm to your property, a dry stone wall is a great option. Dry stone walls are basically masonry built without the use of mortar or concrete. Instead, the stones are stacked and then bound together with natural materials like mud and clay. They’re relatively easy to build, and they can last for many years with proper maintenance. Here’s how to build one yourself:
- Start by finding a spot on your property where you want your wall to go. You’ll need enough space to stack the stones and cover them with mortar later.
- Make sure the ground around your site is level and free of rocks or roots that could damage the wall surface. Use a level to make sure all the stones are in exactly the same place before starting to stack them.
- Collect stones from all around your area – rough-hewn slabs will look more natural than polished ones. Try to find stones that are at least 12 inches thick, but don’t worry if some are thicker or thinner than others – a little bit of variation will look better in the end.
- Start stacking the stones according to size, using dowels
Maintenance and Repairing
Dry stone walls are a classic form of wall construction that dates back to ancient times. As the name suggests, dry stone walls are constructed without the use of mortar or other adhesive. Instead, the stones are held together by friction and natural forces. Because dry stone walls are so durable, they can often last for centuries without needing significant maintenance. Here are some tips for maintaining and repairing a dry stone wall:
- Clean and polish the exterior surface of the wall regularly to keep it looking its best.
- Check the joints between the stones for any signs of weakness or deterioration. If there is damage, seal it up with a layer of mortar or sealant.
- Repair any cracks or fractures in the stones with a mixture of sand, water, and mortar. Apply a layer of mortar to the top and let it set before adding more stones.
- Keep an eye on the height and condition of the wall’s parapets to make sure they don’t become overgrown or collapse. Repaint or replace parapets as necessary.
The dry stone wall is a beautiful and ancient building technique that still finds use today. If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating building method, be sure to read our article on the dry stone wall. In it, we’ll discuss how this structure is constructed, as well as some of the benefits and drawbacks of using this type of construction.