Iam thinking of putting a 2' tall garden stone retaining wall in my
back yard. Probably for 15' long, approximately 1/3 of the backyard
width. My backyard is higher than the front yard. Iam in a rolling
slope. And thinking of filling this with whatever good and cheap and
make it look like a patio or flower bed or a water fall.
Any good site on the web to improve my imagination, and make it a
I would like to get more suggestions and what will be a good plan to
improve the property value and turn something sore to the eye into
beautiful. My thinking is to DIY a granite stone wall with no mortar,
but wife is afraid of snake and other creatures making it a home.
Appreciate any adivise or directions.
There are many good books on landscaping and garden structures at bookstores
and home improvement centers. You might browse some of them for ideas. I
think the snake thing is irrational. If you don't have snakes now, I doubt
that they will be a problem in the future. Of course most snakes are
harmless to people and beneficial in controlling rodents and insect pests.
There are morterless retaining wall blocks of various sizes and colors
available at home improvement centers. You can look here:
hmmmm... you could use a recessed morter technique to have the dry
stack look without earth access for critters to tuck in.
(depending on the depth of the hole they might still hunker down in
lining the soil side of the wall with heavy duty lanscaping
fabric/diamond mesh might accomplish the same thing.
Verso l'esterno! Verso l'esterno! Deamons di ignoranza.
I've done several of those and found them very satisfying. In my case I used
the natural stones lying around, of which I had many. Never had a problem
with snakes living in them (but then here in Eastern Ontario snakes aren't
very scary) but rodents do find them handy.
You can help to stabilize them by spreading them out on the ground before
installation and spending some time eyeballing them for a good fit. It takes
a while but you can come up with impressive results without mortar.
Yes, the DRY STONE WALL, no mortar, is quite a wonderful thing. a book
which shows actual pictures of how these walls are built, (each face
of the wall slopes to the center---hard to describe, easy to diagram)
would be the way to go. Mortar is comparatively recent in this scheme
of things; HUGE structures were made without it.
I was not suggesting Stonehenge or Easter Island stone heads; nor had
the idea of concrete blocks, half or whole-assed, even enter'd my mnd!
i was just encouraging the lad to build a dry stone wall!
i was not even referencing those charming stone beehives one finds all
check this out:
But without mortar, old walls were built with carefully dressed
stones. The joints were so perfect, not even a knife blade could
be inserted. And the walls were quite thick since only gravity
kept them from falling.
that IS one kind of mortarless construction, but the USA is full of
dry stone walls made of local harvested ROCKS, which were cheap, being
free for the taking, and then selected to fit together with a minimum
of dressing with tools. they are very rustic, or, some might say,
crude, but they look very natural in the landscape, and really, aside
from the labour, (which is good for a person) they are not that
difficult to make. some folks consider them very important as regards
historic structures in the USA. and we have an accounting here of a
Missouri stone wall put together over time by a person's Auntie! who
was not represented as a stone mason.
However, my reply was to a rference to a message that claimed:
"Mortar is comparatively recent in this scheme of things; HUGE
structures were made without it." [Original writer's emphasis on
"HUGE", not mine.] Yes, boundary walls are often made without
mortar or precise dressing. However, I cannot picture someone's
auntie bulding the Great Wall of China without at least dressed
stones. And remember what is the subject of this thread.
gardens.. but then walls are a part of many gardens...
no, aunt ethyl was not a stone mason, just a stubborn little lady who
worked in a shoe factory, was raising 6 children at the time and
wanted 'something better' and worked her but off trying to create it.
and she made the best danged gooseberry pie you could ever imagine.
and, bless her heart, she couldn't afford morter! ....but..she had a
LOT of rocks! and i might add.. balls!! garbonzos! even if she was a
lady. may she rest in peace.. : )
I agree with David. I mentioned to a friend, experienced in
bricklaying and many other construction projects, that I thought it
would be nice to have a retaining wall between lawn and sidewalk
because of a difficult-to-mow 15" slope -- just a border to the lawn
and an 16" wall on on the sidewalk side. He explained to me the
weights and pressures involved, and I caught his drift. And have seen
many similar structures in the neighborhood gradually bulge and decay.
Freestanding, unmortered stone walls last for centuries (don't people
replace stones from time to time?), but *not* when there's constant
stress/weight on one side -- i.e., "retaining."
I forgot to mention cheating. a person could install rebar or other
kinds of iron reinforcement, pounding it into the earth, or even
setting it in a small underground concrete pour, and THEN pile the
stones without mortar against it. you could even throw some
wired-in-place horizontal reinforcements in there.
I have no idea how much heaving there is, how much earth movement, and
even mortared stone walls will lose their integrity and fall down if
there is enough earth movement. i was just speaking on behalf of dry
stone walls EVERYWHERE, which have persisted for centuries, with and
without the occasional repair.
now, if you are using natural stones, do not expect mortar to glue
them together when you have heaving, earthquakes, and are building on
But that is just ME, i would not abandon an idea just because everyone
told me what a terrible idea it is.
In my experience with dry retaining walls the most important thing to
remember is drainage behind the wall. Moisture and freeze or just weight
from the water is this down fall of most walls. as far as dry stacked walls
go check these out http://www.pennsylvaniabluestone.com/johnson/projects /
We are known ( this area northeastern Pa. USA)for some of the nicest dry
stacked walls any where. Trees and roots also bulge a wall but if there is
proper drainge on a retaining wall and the stones are large enough or
stacked correctly no problem should develope in any climate. I will try to
get some pics of real large retaining walls dry stacked in this area that
have not budged an inch in well over a century or more. Repairing these wall
from damge from auto moblies and machinery or moving them to make way for
roadways. These walls with the best drainage with stood the test of time.
As a matter of fact this work
was done by a man named Joe Spola . We supply stone for walls and flagstone
from our quarries. But this guy is a master stone mason.The serpentine wall
has a marble race through Three pipes allow you to race marbles down it
interior to the bottom . check out the pics. Its pretty cool..
There is a superb, and I do mean superb, stone wall surrounding the
headquarters of BET (Black Entertainment) down there, which I drive by from
time to time. The work is just unimpeachable, and looked quite similar to a
few of your examples. Thanks,
email@example.com (sams) wrote in message
I've used stacking bricks & ritzier stackable stones to create garden
barriers & in one long spot a cliff wall where was formerly a slope. They
never shift, they do exactly what they're supposed to without being
cemented in. A neighbor made a major earth-retaining wall out of
stacking-bricks about head-high, & this seems pretty stable too, despite
the unusual height, but when I looked at it I had to admit it looked
tacky. It looked like some amateur with no finer option stacked some
blocks bought at Lowe's or Home Depot. He'd even installed one of those
black moulded fish ponds, looked about as natural as some kids' plastic
wading pool. All the guy needed to complete the effect would be some
plastic flowers stuck in the cracks of the wall, & a chorus line of
garden-trolls around the pond.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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