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

 

Drystack Stone Retaining Wall – Lincoln, MA

Drystack Stone Retaining Wall Installation – Lincoln, MA

At this home in Lincoln, MA a new deck addition warranted the need for a new drystack stone retaining wall.   The goals are to retain the hillside and provide more flat space beneath the deck, while creating a nice visual feature and preventing washout.

Before

Before

Before

Before

 

We choose a local fiedstone that will be dry laid to build the retaining wall.  A drystack stone wall is built without mortar.  The weight of the stones hold everything together and the wall remains porous to water and flexible should any movement occur.  Drystack stone walls have a very nice traditional appearance and will last a long time.

The wall stone is sourced in bulk from a local stoneyard.  This particular stone is screened out of dirt fill.  A supply yard will take dirt that customers dump , separate the loam and rocks, and then resell the materials.  This is a lower cost stone that has not been sorted for size or color, however, we spend some time each day at the yard picking out stones that we like.  The result is a nice variety of stone that adds to the traditional appeal.

Fieldstone Retaing Wall - Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall – Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall - Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall – Lincoln, MA

 

The stone retaining wall is faced on the front with nicer stones we’ve picked out, and then backfilled with more stone and gravel.   A heavy landscape fabric goes behind all of this to keep dirt and plant growth from infiltrating the wall.

The wall grows day by day.  As we get towards the top we stretch a line so that we can aim for a nice level cap.  At the stoneyard we are able to find various corner stones.  Most of the corner stones aren’t fieldstones, but some sort of quarried stones that made it into the bulk pile.  You’ll notice some cobble stones, a bluestone piece, and other cut granite.  These produce a nice clean corner and we think the variety looks nice.

Fieldstone Retaing Wall - Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall – Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall - Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall – Lincoln, MA

 

The stone wall gets capped and completed.  We’ll be back in the spring to do more stone walls around the property and to further improve the area under the deck.

Fieldstone Retaing Wall - Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall – Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall - Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall – Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall - Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall – Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall - Lincoln, MA

Fieldstone Retaing Wall – Lincoln, MA

Stone Stairway and Walls – Maynard, MA

At this charming home in Maynard, MA the front entry way and retaining walls were in disrepair and unsightly.  With an appreciation for stonework, the homeowner desired to replace the wooden stairway with a natural stone stairway and to sure up the existing retaining walls.

Maynard, MA - before

Maynard, MA – before

Maynard, MA - Before

Maynard, MA – Before

After considering the site and deciding on materials, we draw a simple plan so that the homeowner can better visualize how the stairs will be situated.  Granite steps will be used for the stairs, bluestone pavers for the landings, and Pennsylvania Fieldstone for the walls.

Maynard, MA - Landscape Plan

Maynard, MA – Landscape Plan

Next we break ground and excavate for the new stairways.  Any good sized stones are saved to aid in the rebuilding of the walls.

Maynard, MA - Excavated Site

Maynard, MA – Excavated Site

Next the stairs and walls start going in.  We set the step, and then build the walls up to meet the level, and so on.  The stairway walls are mortared with cement but are meant to look like they aren’t.  The side walls and retaining walls are dry laid without the use of mortar.

Maynard, MA - Stone Steps

Maynard, MA – Stone Steps

The walls grow higher.  The #3 is salvaged from the original wall and set at eye level in the new stairway.

Maynard, MA - Stone Steps and Fieldstone Walls

Maynard, MA – Stone Steps and Fieldstone Walls

The stairs and walls reach finish height.  The upper retaining wall is built higher than the original was to help flatten out the steep grade of the gardens.  The side retaining walls are built with the existing stone and supplemented by the larger pieces of the PA wallstone that were purchased for the stairway.  Cobble stones and clay brick make up the bottom landing while bluestone is used for the upper landings and to cap the stairway wall.

Maynard, MA - Stone Steps and Stone Walls

Maynard, MA – Stone Steps and Stone Walls

After the railings go in the project is complete and some nice fall decorations bring it all together.   Take a look at the before and after.

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before

Maynard, MA - Stone Stairway and Fieldstone Walls

Maynard, MA – Stone Stairway and Fieldstone Walls

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Maynard, MA – Completed Granite Steps and Stone Walls

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Maynard, MA – Completed Granite Steps and Fieldstone Walls

IMG_1156

Maynard, MA – Completed Stone Stairway with Bluestone Landing