Dry Stack Stone Wall
At this home in Concord, MA the new owners very much wanted a weathered, antique looking stone wall, much like the old boundary walls we see lining the fields and farms of New England. With a specific look in mind, we spend some time exchanging photos and looking at old walls in the area. Below are the examples we use as inspiration:
Stone is actually much lighter in color than the old stone walls you see in the photos above. It is over time and exposure to the elements that the stone darkens grey and grows lichen and moss. This sort of weathered stone is rarely available at supply yards, so, we must go searching for an existing wall that we can dismantle and use for our new stone wall. We are able to find just that at a property in Northern MA.
Dry Stack Stone Wall Construction:
We prep for the wall by digging out ~6″ of earth and filling with crushed stone. The crushed stone provides a sturdier base to prevent settling and drainage to prevent frost heaving. Next we use the biggest of the stones as the base course, and build up from there. The owner decides on a height of 2.5′ for the wall that will follow the grade of the yard. The goal is to imitate the old farmer walls of the area, so, we stack the stone for sturdiness first and pay less attention to achieving perfectly tight joints or a flat face finish. We also try to expose the mossy sides whenever possible to make the best use of our weathered stone.
The stones are dry stacked (without mortar) in the traditional method. The larger, nicer stones make up the faces of the wall and smaller rubble fills in the middle. A dry stack stone wall such as this will hold up for generations. Should any movement in the ground occur the wall will simply flex/settle and go unnoticed to the eye.
Bit by bit the wall comes together. At almost ‘300 long it takes some time and ~100 tons of weathered fieldstone. Along the way we save the largest, flattest stones for the cap. These create a nice, flat top to the stone wall and also help to hold everything together.
Completed Stone Wall:
The stone wall is complete and adds a very rustic and handsome feature to this home. The owner also decides to add a cobble stone accent to the driveway. For this we source some reclaimed cobble stones from the streets of Cambridge, MA.