Stone Wall Installation – Westford, MA

Stone Wall Installation in Westford, MA

At this home in Westford the owners would like to add to the curb appeal of their home while creating some separation from a busy road.  Weighing their options between a wood fence and a stone wall, they decide on a 2.5′ stone wall to run the length of the property.

Stone Wall Prep

The stone wall will be dry stacked with local fieldstone.  A dry stacked stone wall is fairly fast to install, long lasting, and has a traditional New England look.  The wall will be about 100′ long by 2.5′ high, and will take about 40 tons of fieldstone to construct.  Our fieldstone is sourced directly from a farm in MA.  The stone is unsorted meaning it comes with a mix of sizes and shapes like a traditional stone wall would.  To prep for the wall we dig a trench and fill with compacted crushed stone.  This will provide a solid base as well as drainage to prevent frost heaving.

Proposed Fieldstone Wall

Proposed Fieldstone Wall

 

Stone Wall Installation

To build the stone wall we use the largest stones first for the base course, and then build up from there.  We choose nicer looking stones with adequate size for the face stones, and then fill the middle with small and odder shaped stones.  Large flat stones are saved for the cap to create a clean finish and also to help hold everything in place.  This stone wall has 3 different sections, that means there will 6 total wall ends or “cheek ends”.  These cheeks ends take extra care to build so that they remain square and stand sturdy.

Stone Wall Installation - Westford, MA

Stone Wall Installation – Westford, MA

Stone Wall Installation - Westford, MA

Stone Wall Installation – Westford, MA

Stone Wall Completion

The completed stone wall arcs to follow the slight curve of the road while maintaining a consistent height.   It stands handsomely in front of the house while providing a physical barrier from traffic.  The wall also helps to prevent erosion from the uphill yard, and, stops road salt from getting on the lawn.  A drystacked wall such as this is very easy to repair were anything to damage it, and otherwise will stand quite a long time with little to no maintenance.  In the end if this wall ever needs to come down, the stones will be perfectly reusable and will have actually gained valuable weathering and patina.

Completed Stone Wall - Westford, MA

Completed Stone Wall – Westford, MA

Completed Stone Wall - Westford, MA

Completed Stone Wall – Westford, MA

Completed Stone Wall - Westford, MA

Completed Stone Wall – Westford, MA

 

Cheek End

Cheek End

Cheek End

Cheek End

Cheek End

Cheek End

Stone Wall Cap

Stone Wall Cap

 

Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

At this home in Lincoln, MA we are building a new flagstone patio.  Flagstone is the common term for any irregular, flat stones used for paving.  The most common variety in our area is bluestone flagging.  This flagstone patio will be dry laid with tight joints <1″.

Flagstone Patio – Prep

We prepare for the patio by first digging out a base, compacting the subsoil, and then laying crushed stone.  The crushed stone provides a good base in that it compacts well and doesn’t hold water.  Next a thin layer of fine gravel is used to level the stones.  The fine gravel also drains freely to eliminate puddling on the patio or frost heaving beneath it.

Flagstone Patio - Prep

Flagstone Patio – Prep

Flagstone Patio - Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio – Installation

In order to achieve 1-2″ – 3/4″ joints the flagstones will need to be cut and shaped to fit.  Our goal is to achieve a tight fight without making it obvious that the stones are cut.   This means we won’t make too many long straight cuts, or overly geometric shapes.  This gives the patio a more natural appearance.

Flagstone Patio - InstallationFlagstone Patio – Installation

Flagstone Patio - Installation

Flagstone Patio – Installation

Flagstone Patio - Installation

Flagstone Patio – Installation

The process of fitting and leveling every stone is fairly labor intensive, but yields very nice results.  Once all of the stones are laid, we sweep the fine bedding gravel into the joints and the patio is ready for use.

Completed Flagstone Patio Installation

Completed Flagstone Patio Installation

Completed Flagstone Patio Installation

Completed Flagstone Patio Installation

Completed Flagstone Patio Installation

Completed Flagstone Patio Installation

Types of Bluestone Patios

Types of Bluestone Patios

A question that often comes up when discussing bluestone patios are the different varieties of bluestone pavers. To the untrained eye they may all look the same, but, there are actually a number of differences that effect the cost, appearance, and installation methods.

Natural Cleft Bluestone:

Natural cleft bluestone describes bluestone that has been split or cleft into layers during the quarrying process. Bluestone is a sedimentary stone, meaning that is comes from sediment that has been fused together deep underground from the enormous weight and pressure from above.   As it was formed by layers of sediment, it is often possible to find cracks or lines of de-lamination in the stone and split it into slabs.  These slabs are then cut into rectangles to make the natural cleft bluestone pavers you see today.

As it is naturally split, the bluestone pavers have some irregularities.  The surface of the stone will have more bumps and texture, and each stone will vary in thickness somewhat.  Natural cleft bluestone also tends to have a range of colors of blue, gray, purple, and rusty orange.

The quarrying process of natural cleft bluestone takes less saw cutting and makes natural cleft bluestone less expensive than other bluestone.  The varied thickness and irregular surfaces, however, make it more labor intensive to install.

natural cleft bluestone

natural cleft bluestone

Natural Cleft Bluestone

Natural Cleft Bluestone

 

Thermal Bluestone:

Thermal bluestone is formed deeper within in the earth than natural cleft bluestone.  With more weight and pressure above, the stone has fewer fault lines and must be broken off in big chunks and then sawn cut into layers.  The saw cut leaves a very smooth, unnatural surface which then must be re-textured. This texturing is the ‘thermaling’ process which gives its name.  The stone is wet down and then heated with a super hot flame until the surface flakes off, exposing the natural roughness of the stone.

Cutting bluestone takes a lot of machinery and expensive diamond blades and so thermal bluestone is more expensive to produce, but, the stone is very uniform in thickness.  This makes the installation and leveling process less labor intensive than natural cleft bluestone.

 

Color Range Thermal Bluestone

Color Range Thermal Bluestone 

 

Thermal Bluestone Patio

Thermal Bluestone Patio

Thermal Bluestone

Thermal Bluestone

 

 Irregular Bluestone (Flagstone)

Irregular bluestone, also called “stand-up bluestone” or “flagstone” is naturally cleft bluestone that has not been cut into rectangles. 

Irregular bluestones will vary greatly in shape, size, and thickness.  They need to be cut and shaped to fit together, and then leveled one by one.  There is a range of joint size that can be achieved depending on the desired look and cost.  Irregular bluestone cost less in material but is much more labor intensive to install than other types of bluestone patios.  

Irregular Bluestone Patio

Irregular Bluestone – Grass Joints

Irregular Bluestone - Tight joints

Irregular Bluestone – Tight joints

Irregular Bluestone Paito – +1″ Joints

 

In Conclusion

There are various options for bluestone patios depending on your style preference and budget.  Please contact us with any questions or to receive a quote.