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

Types of Natural Stone Walls

Types of Natural Stone Walls

Here at Concord Stoneworks one of our favorite projects are natural stone walls.  There are a variety of different methods of building a natural stone wall with a variety of different materials.  Because of this, each wall is a bit different and a poses a new and interesting project for us to take on.

As a customer you will want to understand what your options are so you can choose a stone wall that best fits your style and budget.

Fieldstone Walls:

Fieldstone refers to any stone that is harvested from the ground or a ‘field’.   Having been tumbled in the ground for centuries they are generally more rounded as opposed to freshly broken or quarried stone.  Fieldstone is harvested locally and relatively cheaper than other wall stone, although, the price will go up as it gets sorted into more consistent batches of shape, size, and color.  A typical stone yard will have separate piles of flats, rounds, weathered stone, sizes, and a mixed pile.  They will also have pallets of fieldstone that have been further sorted and selected for certain characteristics.  Fieldstone will vary quite a bit supply yard to supply yard and season to season so is something we must go and see in person before purchasing.

Fieldstone is suited for any type of stone wall, from low freestanding walls, to large structural retaining walls.  Seeing as it is a lower cost stone, and the stones can get quite large, they are especially well suited for larger scale walls.  A fieldstone wall generally has a lower level of finish than some other stone walls.  That is to say the face/cap aren’t completely flat and consistent, although, with enough care a high level of finish can be achieved.

Fieldstone walls can be either dry laid or set with mortar.  There are advantages and disadvantages to either method which you can read more about here.  We will most often suggest a dry laid fieldstone wall, but there is a time and place for either method.

fieldstone natural stone wall

Fieldstone Wall

Fieldstone Natural Stone Wall

Fieldstone Wall

 

Pennsylvania Fieldstone Wall:

Pennsylvania Fieldstone is a particular type of fieldstone that is common to our local supply yards.  PA Fieldstone is a smaller, flat stone.  It comes prepackaged on wooden pallets and will cost more per ton than the general fieldstone that can be bought by the truckload.  The smaller sized stones are good for building smaller scale walls but can be used for larger walls as well.  PA Fieldstone walls are usually set in mortar to keep the small stones from jostling or getting knocked out of place.   Although mortared, the stones are still stacked to look like traditionally dry laid wall.

Pennsylvania Fieldstone Wall

Pennsylvania Fieldstone Wall

 

Colonial Wallstone:

Colonial Wallstone is another flat stone and is used in the same way as PA Fieldstone.  Colonial Wallstone comes from the bluestone quarries and is produced from cast off pieces that aren’t nice enough for the large, flat bluestone patio stones.  Colonial Wallstone is freshly broken/quarried, this means the faces are very flat, and as a softer stone it is easy to work with a chisel and hammer.  Colonial wallstone can be used to produce a very tight fitting, clean, and consistent finish.  And although often mortared, this stone is stacked in the way that gives it a dry laid appearance.

Colonial Wallstone stone wall

Colonial Wallstone stone wall

Colonial Wallstone stone wall

Colonial Wallstone stone wall

 

Antique Granite Wallstone:

Most of our local fieldstone is some sort of granite, but, here we are referring to the quarried white granite that you often see used as steps, cobble stones, posts, curbing, etc.  Quarried granite has usually been split into rectangular pieces and make it easy to piece together for a nice tight fitting wall.  Antique granite is great for drystack or can be mortared if necessary.

Antique Granite Wall

Antique Granite Wall

Antique Granite

Antique Granite

 

Split Face/Mosiac Wall

Split face or Mosiac Walls refer to some sort of freshly broken fieldstone or quarried stone.  Having been split, the stone has one very flat side that is used to face the wall.  In this sort of construction the focus is on facing the wall first, not stacking the stones for sturdiness.  This means that the wall must be mortared together, and to the trained eye it is apparent that the mortar is holding the form and not the weight of the stones.  Using split face stone and mortar it is easier to achieve a clean, flat finish, however you lose some of the visual weight and authenticity of a traditional stone wall.

Mosiac Stone Wall

Mosiac Stone Wall

Mosiac Stone Wall

Mosiac Stone Wall

 

Veneer Wall:

A veneer wall is a type of mortared stone wall in which the face stones are adhered to a structural concrete base/backing.  Veneer walls are often used on houses and foundations among other applications.  There are many different types of stone veneer.  Some have been manufactured and sliced to ~1″ thick and are more installed like tiles.   Others can be naturally flat stones similar to the Colonial Wallstone or PA Fieldstone mentioned above.  They may range from 1-4″ thick and the wall is pieced together with the larger flat face exposed.  Veneer stones are easy to cut and piece together to achieve a clean finish.

Veneer Stone Wall

Veneer Stone Wall

Veneer Stone Wall

Veneer Stone Wall

Veneer Stone Wall

Veneer Stone Wall

 

Modular Block Wall:

Concrete wall blocks are a manufactured product that can also be used to make masonry walls.  These blocks come in a wide variety of styles with different engineering systems and specs.  They are dry laid systems and can be installed much faster than natural stone walls.  Concrete block walls can look nice, are effective, and will often be more cost effective than natural stone walls.

wall block6 wal block5  block wall

In Conclusion:

This article includes a good sampling of the types of natural stone walls available to you.   As always there exists a number of other particular types of stone and methods of cutting and shaping them to fit together.  If there’s a particular natural stone wall you’ve always admired, bookmark it or snap a photo and we can do our best to match it.

So take a look around and see what catches your eye and get in touch when you’re ready to start planning your new natural stone wall.