Stone Retaining Wall – Lincoln, MA

The new owners of this home in Lincoln, MA needed to replace the rotting timber retaining walls that were holding the grade on either side of their house.  Looking for something more attractive and longer lasting, they called us to see what it would take to build a stone retaining wall.

Existing Timber Walls - Left

Existing Timber Walls – Left

Existing Timber Walls - Right

Existing Timber Walls – Right


Wall Plans

After discussing some different wall styles and lay out we develop a plan.  We decide that drystack weathered fieldstone will be the best material and construction method.  A 3d model shows the orientation and height of the walls, and a section shows how they will be engineered.

Stone Retaining Wall Model

Stone Retaining Wall Model

Stone Retaining Wall - Section

Stone Retaining Wall – Section


Building Process

Once we have agreed on the plans we get to work building the walls.  The first step is to tear out the old timbers, and excavate for the walls.  A good amount of dirt is excavated.  Instead of paying to haul it away, however, we make use of it onsite to raise the grade of the back yard which is sloped and has eroded over the years.

Excavated Walls - Left

Excavated Walls – Left

Excavated Walls - Right

Excavated Walls – Right


We start on one side and start building the lower tier.  The weathered fieldstone is stone that has been harvested mainly from old farm walls throughout MA.  This means it has been exposed to the elements for a long time and has a nice dark color and lichen growth.  We use the largest rocks for the base, and save the larger flat rocks to create a clean cap.

stone retaining wall - R1

stone retaining wall – R1


In excavating for the wall we encounter a large stone buried behind the timbers.  Barely able to move it with the machine, we push it into place and incorporate it into our new wall.


Existing Stone


The lower wall gets capped to height.  The stones are all dry stacked, the bulk of each stone ties back into the wall for an extremely sturdy structure that drains freely.  A wall like this should long outlast the house itself.

Stone Retaining Wall - R1

Stone Retaining Wall – R1


Next we build the lower tier on the left side of the house in the same fashion:

Stone Retaining Wall - L1

Stone Retaining Wall – L1

Next we build the upper tiers.  We load the stone up onto our new platform and build the walls to meet the upper grade.  At the end we decide to taper the upper tiers so that they follow the grade.

Stone Retaining Wall - R2

Stone Retaining Wall – R2

Stone Retaining Wall - L2

Stone Retaining Wall – L2


Completed Stone Retaining Walls:

img_2836 img_2812 img_2813 img_2824

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