Drystack Stone Wall – Lincoln, MA

Drystack Stone Wall – Lincoln, MA

At this property in Lincoln, MA we are hired to build a free standing stone wall along the edge of the property.  Road salt and snow plows keep plants or shrubs from growing here, so, a stone wall instead will give visual appeal and create a barrier between the yard and the road.

The owners decide on a drystack stone wall which will match the local/traditional style, and be most cost effective to build.

Drystack Stone Wall – Construction

To build the wall we first dig a shallow trench along the length and fill the base with gravel.  We use the largest stones for the first course, and build up from there, saving larger flat stones for the cap.

Our stone comes from a private farm in MA.  Many of the stones are harvested from old farms walls and have a darker, and often mossy/weathered appearance.  We aim to use local material in the traditional method so that our stone wall compliments the local aesthetics.

The wall is drystacked without any use of mortar.  We use gravity to hold the wall together by stacking the stones first for strength.  This means tying the bulk of the stone back into the wall instead of tipping the largest flattest face to the front.  We are not shaping the stones with hammer and chisel, or focusing on perfectly tight joints.  But rather focusing on building a fast, sturdy, and traditional looking stone wall.

Fieldstone Delivery

Dry Stone Wall - Base Course

Dry Stone Wall – Base Course

Stone Wall Installation

Stone Wall Installation

Drystack Stone Wall – Completion

The wall is 150′ long by 2.5 high and will take about 60 tons (3 trailer loads) of fieldstone to complete.  The works takes a couple of weeks and comes together nicely.  It will be an attractive visual feature and also an effective barrier for kids, balls, and pets from the busy road.

The wall being drystacked is very easy to repair in case of damage from plow or vehicle.  And just like it’s origin, these stones are entirely re-usable and have the same value if ever the wall needs to come down and the stone used somewhere else.

 

 

 

 

Paver Driveway Installation – Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway Installation – Bedford, MA

At this home in Bedford, MA we are replacing an old asphalt driveway with a paver driveway.  Pavers are a manufactured concrete product that are colored and textured to look nice, are thick and sturdy enough for vehicle traffic, and cost less than natural brick or stone.  We will also be edging portions of the driveway with granite cobble stone, and installing a step and walkway to the front door.

Paver Driveway - Bedford, MA

Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway – Prep

When installing a paver driveway the most important part is the prep.  With the weight of a vehicle you must make sure that there is a sturdy, properly compacted base so the pavers do not shift or settle.  To do this we excavate a full foot or until all organic matter is gone, and we are down to solid, well drained subsoil.  We then compact the subsoil with a heavy compactor, and start laying the base material.  The base material is a mix of crushed stone and stone dust.  It does not drain as well as pure crushed stone, but, it does compact better which is the primary concern in this case.  The base material is compacted in 2″ lifts to ensure proper compaction.

Paver Driveway - Bedford, MA

Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway – Installation

Once the base is prepped a thin layer of sand is used to achieve final level.  The pavers go down on the sand in the specified pattern, and the edges are secured with either cobbles stones or spiked plastic edging.  Once all the pavers are in, polymeric sand is swept into the joints.  This is a very find sand that has adhesive mixed into it.  When wet down for the first time the polymeric sand will set and harden.  This will keep the joints from washing out, and is meant to discourage weeds and ants.  Once the joint sand is swept in we run the compactor over the pavers again to make sure they are set and compacted, and to vibrate the joint sand down into the joints.

Paver Driveway Installation - Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway Installation – Bedford, MA

 

Paver Driveway Installation - Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway Installation – Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway Installation - Bedford, MA

Paver Driveway Installation – Bedford, MA

 

Fieldstone Retaining Wall – Concord, MA

Fieldstone Retaining Wall

At this property in Concord, MA an old timber retaining wall is beginning to deteriorate.  The owners would like to rebuild with stone and we suggest a drystack fieldstone retaining wall as an attractive, fast, and long lasting solution.

Dry stack stone walls rely on gravity and the mass of the stones to hold it’s form and retain the slope.  They look natural, progress quickly, and will last years and years.

Fieldstone Retaining Wall - Before

Before

 

Fieldstone Retaining Wall - Before

Before

 

To build the new wall we first remove the old landscape timbers and shrubs and excavate the hillside.   A trench is dug at the base of the wall and filled with crushed stone (gravel), and crushed stone is also used to fill behind the wall.  The crushed stone base lets water drain away freely so frost does not cause movement in the wall.  The crushed stone backing also drains freely while adding mass to the wall.  A layer of filter fabric (heavy felt) separates the crushed stone backing from the existing dirt behind the wall.  This keeps dirt and plant growth from ever filtering into the stone.

20 tons of fieldstone + 10 tons of crushed stone is delivered and will make up the new fieldstone retaining wall.

 

Fieldstone Retaining Wall - Prep

Fieldstone Retaining Wall – Prep

 

A few days of building and the wall is stacked and complete.   We follow the grade and stretch a cap-line to achieve a traditional but clean look.  The wall is several feet thick consisting of ~30 tons of stone and gravel.  This wall should last years and years, and if/when it needs to come down, the stones are perfectly re-usable and will only gain patina and character with age.

Fieldstone Retaining Wall - Concord, MA

Fieldstone Retaining Wall – Concord, MA