Stone Retaining Wall – Dedham, MA

Stone Retaining Wall

At this property in Dedham, MA, the owner sought to terrace a hillside with a stone retaining wall in preparation of planting fruit trees.  The hillside needs to be cleared of brush, re-graded, and retained.   The owner is looking for a rougher, farm style wall that will go quickly, and do what it needs to do.

Stone Retaining Wall - Before

Before

Stone Retaining Wall - Before

Before

Stone Retaining Wall - Before

Before

Stone Retaining Wall – Prep

Using a machine we clear and grade the lower part of the hillside in preparation for the wall.  We dig a base, fill it with crushed stone, and lay a fabric backing before starting the installation.  The curve of the wall will follow the curve of the hillside and taper down slightly at the ends, with a stairway in the middle for access.

Stone Retaining Wall - Prep

Stone Retaining Wall – Prep

Stone Retaining Wall - Prep

Prep

Stone Retaining Wall - Prep

Prep

Stone Retaining Wall – Installation

Our stone is weathered fieldstone.  It has a rough, weathered texture and color, and comes in a variety of sizes and shapes for a traditional looking stone wall.  We set the largest stones first, and then work our way up to the cap, backfilling with stone and gravel along the way.

Stone Retaining Wall - Installation

Stone Retaining Wall – Installation

Stone Retaining Wall - Installation

Installation

Stone Retaining Wall - Installation

Installation

Once the lower wall is in, we regrade the next terrace and prep for the upper wall.  The 2nd tier gets built, and then again we grade and clear the top most portion of the hillside.  In a couple short weeks we’ve made big changes to this hillside, creating a much more usable and pleasing space that will last generations.   What was an overgrown hillside can now be planted and gardened.  We look forward to returning in the fall to see how the new orchard looks.  Take another look at the before and after photos.

Stone Retaining Wall

Completed Walls + Terrace

Stone Retaining Wall

Completed Walls + Terrace

Dry Stack Stone Bench

Dry Stack Stone Bench

After completing a project at this home in Marlborough, MA, there was an extra piece of antique granite along with various other scrap stone.  After brainstorming some ideas with the homeowner, we decide to use the granite to make a unique dry stacked stone bench.

This piece of granite was likely a piece of curbing at one point.  You can see this in that it is bowed in shape which lets it follow the curve of the road.  Being bowed it would not have made the best step for our original purposes, but, creates a very pleasing shape for the top of a bench.

Stone Bench - Marlborough, MA

Stone Bench – Marlborough, MA

 

Using some prybars, with lift the stone up one end at a time and prop it up on some supports at the desired height.  After that we simply build up to the granite with our stone bases.  The stone bases are made from bluestone and antique cobble stones.  No mortar is used.  The stones are dry stacked and the weight of the granite top will hold everything together.

 Stone Bench - Marlborough, MA

Stone Bench – Marlborough, MA

 

The final product is a very sturdy, unique, and attractive stone bench.

Stone Bench - Marlborough, MA

Stone Bench – Marlborough, MA

Stone Bench - Marlborough, MA

Stone Bench – Marlborough, MA

Stone Bench - Marlborough, MA

Stone Bench – Marlborough, MA

Tiered Retaining Wall – Lincoln, MA

Stone Retaining Wall – Lincoln, MA

The new owners of this home in Lincoln, MA needed to replace the rotting timber retaining walls that were holding the grade on either side of their house.  Looking for something more attractive and longer lasting, they called us to see what it would take to build a stone retaining wall.

Existing Timber Walls - Left

Existing Timber Walls – Left

Existing Timber Walls - Right

Existing Timber Walls – Right

 

Wall Plans

After discussing some different wall styles and lay out we develop a plan.  We decide that drystack weathered fieldstone will be the best material and construction method.  A 3d model shows the orientation and height of the walls, and a section shows how they will be engineered.

Stone Retaining Wall Model

Stone Retaining Wall Model

Stone Retaining Wall - Section

Stone Retaining Wall – Section

 

Building Process

Once we have agreed on the plans we get to work building the walls.  The first step is to tear out the old timbers, and excavate for the walls.  A good amount of dirt is excavated.  Instead of paying to haul it away, however, we make use of it onsite to raise the grade of the back yard which is sloped and has eroded over the years.

Excavated Walls - Left

Excavated Walls – Left

Excavated Walls - Right

Excavated Walls – Right

 

We start on one side and start building the lower tier.  The weathered fieldstone is stone that has been harvested mainly from old farm walls throughout MA.  This means it has been exposed to the elements for a long time and has a nice dark color and lichen growth.  We use the largest rocks for the base, and save the larger flat rocks to create a clean cap.

stone retaining wall - R1

stone retaining wall – R1

 

In excavating for the wall we encounter a large stone buried behind the timbers.  Barely able to move it with the machine, we push it into place and incorporate it into our new wall.

img_2801

Existing Stone

 

The lower wall gets capped to height.  The stones are all dry stacked, the bulk of each stone ties back into the wall for an extremely sturdy structure that drains freely.  A wall like this should long outlast the house itself.

Stone Retaining Wall - R1

Stone Retaining Wall – R1

 

Next we build the lower tier on the left side of the house in the same fashion:

Stone Retaining Wall - L1

Stone Retaining Wall – L1

Next we build the upper tiers.  We load the stone up onto our new platform and build the walls to meet the upper grade.  At the end we decide to taper the upper tiers so that they follow the grade.

Stone Retaining Wall - R2

Stone Retaining Wall – R2

Stone Retaining Wall - L2

Stone Retaining Wall – L2

 

Completed Stone Retaining Walls:

img_2836 img_2812 img_2813 img_2824
img_2830