the ground or wooden stakes. You can put that into a dip in the soil. If you can, source stone that has come from a wall that is being dismantled, that way you should Otherwise, they may inadvertently be broken and used as face stones. Dry stacking is a traditional form of building still popular today in many different cultures and locations. This offsets the centre of gravity of the wall, making it less likely to topple over. Dry stone, sometimes called drystack or, in Scotland, drystane, is a building method by which structures are constructed from stones without any mortar to bind them together. Dry stone retaining walls are load bearing retaining walls, which have long been analysed by considering the equilibrium of forces and moments applied to the wall treated as a rigid solid. In other words, the wall steps in one inch for every six inches in height. So as long as it’s doing its job structurally that’s all we’re worried about because it’s going to be buried by the field in the back and this wall is more than wide enough to be amply strong for the job it’s got to do. Compress it a bit. The ideal height for a dry-stacked retaining wall is 18 to 22 inches—so you can sit on it when your gardening chores are done. Building dry-stone walls is an ancient practice, providing a practical solution to making terraces and raised garden beds or shoring up slopes. The space behind the face stones must be carefully packed with what is called harding, or packing, which may be sized a little smaller than the face rock. If the ground is level above and the footing is stable below, the simplest form of retaining wall is appropriate. PAUL WEBLEY: If you’re building a small, low retaining wall, by low retaining wall I mean something not much higher than my knees, we’re only going up about twenty-one inches. Like right here we’ve got four inches, three and a half to four inches. For instructions in print, you may want to consult the section on retaining walls in the DSC handbook, “Building and Repairing Drystone Fences and Retaining Walls.”. PAUL WEBLEY: Right, as carefully as you can, right across here. The distance from the bank to the string sets the width of the foundation. counteract this force on the wall by building the wall so it leans back and is not perfectly plumb. Using the correct stones, packing them tightly together and getting the basic design right (wide at the bottom narrowing to the top and leaning back into ground it Retaining walls built about 3-feet high are fairly easy to construct as the force of gravity against them is not too great. Full Revelations of a Professional Rat-catcher, We like Your Comments and feedback so please click here to leave yours. Although it can be rough in appearance, this back face must be as carefully built as the front face. PAUL WEBLEY: What you can actually do with a retaining wall is you can actually use rough stone tied to the bank. Here you can push your stones back to the bank, and get them so that they do bend down firmly, because they’re going to take weight, and so they do need to bend down firmly, and make sure you get- it doesn’t matter about an absolutely perfect back line, you can work like that, you know, to the contour of the bank, right down there. This spreads the weight of the wall and prevents rain water from undermining the bottom of the wall. Most small retaining walls have a batter of one to six. If it all falls down, providing it's not yet retaining anything, all you will have lost is time. RICHARD TUFNELL: If you’re down in the lower courses, then we try to have eight or ten or twelve inches extend from the front face to the back of the wall. I will provide you with the underlying principles to build your own natural stone retaining wall. You turn it that way up, suddenly your wall goes up to there, comes out, and then back in again. The stones … won't ever need pointing or rendering. At this particular point he needed not to have put these stones in here where they’re not butting up with the same position, he should have taken a stone like this one and he should have stretched it across that joint there, and ensured the run of weakness that went up the wall was actually stopped. So, yep, that’s very close. Strings are first set to act as a guideline for the edge of the foundation course. NARRATOR: A wall head finishes each end of the wall. Each layer of a dry stack wall is called a course. Rebuilding the bridal trail from down along the busy road to the edge of the woods to give the horse enthusiasts sort of a better experience with riding through the woods. A series of graphic drawing illustrates the principles of retaining wall construction, followed by two case studies showing on-site training classes. The cap must be pinned so that it cannot move. A dry stone wall relies gravity only to hold the wall together. dry stone retaining walls require specialist construction techniques and are not merely stones ‘stacked against an earth bank’ with rubble infill, tie stones or through stones. These are for me to rest on in a minute or two. If the wall is less than four feet high, build only one row of ties halfway up the wall. NARRATOR: The tie rocks are thirty-six inches apart, and each one is placed so that it covers a joint in the course below. The cap stones are pinned to ensure they do not move, and the space behind the wall is filled in with earth. Choose large rocks for the face of the foundation. Inspect the … Lighting a slope Drainage leveling or This offsets the centre of gravity of the stonewall, making it stronger. The large stones (Tie stones) are the most important as the wall can be no wider than the longest stones. NARRATOR: Now the tie rock can be packed underneath to make sure there are no void spaces, and that it does not move. This … The flexibility of mortarless masonry is ideal for terraces and stream banks; it is functional, beautiful, and natural. NARRATOR: In this next example, a group of experienced masons are constructing a longer dry stone retaining wall in one of Louisville’s homestead parks. PAUL WEBLEY: Now the differences we have between a free standing rock fence and a retaining wall is that on a free standing rock fence, the majority of the pressure is downwards and the problem…. NARRATOR: Once the foundation course is finished, the masons raise the batter frames and set them on top of the foundation course. The batter adds strength, giving the wall resistance … The taller middle section will also have a freestanding section, with a rough backface that will be backfilled later. RICHARD TUFNELL: We need to center it up. For this 18-inch high wall… We’ll just do a quick test look… Here we are, I’m settled here for the rest of the afternoon. When the wall is finished, the foundation will project. The foundation is carefully packed to make sure that there are no gaps. The space behind the wall is filled in with earth. This video shows how to build small drystone retaining walls from beginning to end; laying out the shape, digging the foundation, determining the wall angle, building the face, packing the back, and leveling the top. For our gardening clients, dry stone retaining walls are free-draining making them an excellent option over brick and block-work walls. The main difference between wet-laid and dry-stack stone walls relates to the mortar. Stones should be as flat as possible (round stones won't work). Now, on this wall, because we’ve got such a long length to the back, it’s possible that we won’t get this all the way across, so you want that stone to sit across the joint there, a very slight overhang at the front, like that, OK? North Somerset, Privacy Retaining walls built about 3-feet high are fairly are safer and easy to construct as the force of gravity against them is not too great. NARRATOR: Pin the capstones so that there is no movement whatsoever. Because this second wall is low, it does not need a batter, and has a vertical face. The second project is a four-foot wall that supports and equestrian trail and traverses a wet-weather water course in a Louisville park. So it’s strong, but we really don’t mind if there are these dents and fissures, and not-looking-so-good. The batter frames also mark points in the curve of the wall, and are positioned as close together as possible while still allowing enough space to work. At each end, it will be twenty-four inches wide. PAUL WEBLEY: That’s going to be difficult to meet up with. The section at each end will be a small retaining wall. NARRATOR: Simple walls can be up to four to five feet high. A collapsed section of wall can often be repaired without total replacement. Dry Stone Conservancy - 1065 Dove Run Road Suite 6 - Lexington - Kentucky - 40502 - (o) 859-266-4807 - (f) 859-266-4840 - email@example.com They should alternate between spanning the full wall and ties, and running into the wall in pairs. NARRATOR: Since the middle section of the wall is more than four feet tall, it needs two rows of tie rocks.The first row is eighteen inches above the foundation. Dry stonewalls are mainly built as fencing to keep animals in, to mark out a garden and for terracing sloping gardens. NARRATOR: Once the tie rocks are in position, the masons build up the courses so that the two layers of rocks are interwoven in the wall. An example of this can be seen on a neighboring wall. Your house or garden may sit on a rolling hillside. That is beautiful. PAUL WEBLEY: If I put something in, and I’m using this in a totally inappropriate way, if I put something like that in there, what have I done? The width of the foundation for a wall of this size is 22-24 inches, including the front projection. NARRATOR: Because the bridal path spans a drainage ravine, the masons are building a culvert with a pipe under the path. A freestanding wall section with a rough back base can be built instead of coursing all the way to the bank. The higher the wall the greater the risk of collapse. Wall height, stone type, soil type, load, water drainage, and ground slope. Learn to build a simple dry stack retaining wall for the garden, using natural field stone. Dry Stone. policy, Contact Mike. The Foundation Stones are the largest stones in the wall and determine the size of the wall. When calculating the width of the foundation (bottom of the wall), this should be at least half the wall's height and angled so as to get the lean into the slope. A string set at the center of the pipe is used to check that each rock is running into the center, and that each edge forms a neat semicircle. Now what you’re going to do is measure that space with your eye, and then you go away and find a stone that will do that. First with waste rock, then with earth. These rocks form the core of the wall, and their careful packing plays an important part in preventing any slumping of the wall interior. The face stones are again laid in line with the string because the face of the wall must slope inwards to give the wall its batter. NARRATOR: Remember to break the joint at all times. RICHARD TUFNELL: Just hop and there a minute Trey and just wobble it. surface area touching one another and can resist this pressure better and survive because the friction of the stones rubbing against one another works against the pushing force Stones like this, if I can just put that there for an example for a moment. end up with a good mix of sizes. NARRATOR: The tie rocks need to lie flat. PAUL WEBLEY: If you’ve got foundation stones which are curved on any of the faces, that’s the face to use downwards. layer of stone upon which the rest of the wall sits. That’s perfect. These guide the masons in building the face at the correct angle. This helps to conserve stone. they settled over time they became stronger and more closely bound. For walls that are built in front of the bank, a freestanding upper section can be built to conserve rock. Each stone is laid with structural integrity in mind. And also, when you finish laying in a particular course, you stand back and do what is known as sweetening the curve, by pushing the stones gradually in a little bit more until you come to a center point, and then a little bit less as you approach the next batter frame. A series of wooden batter frames are used to attach string lines. Durability, versatility, even in water. Waste rock can be discarded and packed behind the wall, and the remaining space filled with earth. A dry retaining wall is set in dirt, rather than in mortar and must be sturdy enough to stand up again the pressure behind it from earth and water. the retaining wall strong enough to offset the pushing force of the soil it's holding back. Pack smaller stones under the rocks so that there are as few gaps as possible. And the masons clear the work site. NARRATOR: Once the foundation course is level and packed, raise the string to guide the shape of the face of the batter. Decide how wide and long you'd like your rock wall to be, and make sure that this … In that case, all you need to do is to build a good face and to actually pack the back with good, solid, stony material. look like tightly interconnected jigsaw pieces. The Maximum Height of a Stacked Stone Retaining Wall. These are large rocks that go across the top of the wall, and help bind the wall together. Almost all early retaining walls were built this way using stacked stone without any mortar to hold the retaining wall together. You don’t want to pack any soil into that area, you want it to be big, chunky, solid lumps of stone and that will actually take a lot of the pressure that comes with the soil pushing forward. And once you’ve done that you’ve got a stone that’s set. When building retaining walls to retain soil, bear in mind that the wall needs to be able to withstand gravity and Hand crafted stone walls … The distance from the bank to the string sets the width of the foundation. this little bit is essential as far as knitting the wall together. Pack smaller stones under the rocks so that there are as few gaps as possible. NARRATOR: The front should project two inches from the base to provide support for future wall settlement. The simplest retaining walls are those up to two and a half feet tall. There’s very little now. Less movement means the better off we’ll be. NARRATOR: Lay large rocks behind the face stones, and pack any voids with smaller rocks. Great for making inexpensive raised beds out of rocks. The back face can be nearly vertical, or with a slight one to twelve batter. Since drystone walls are designed to cope with settlement, they do not need a concrete foundation. The stability of dry stack stone walls comes from interlocking stones and compressional force rather … We don’t want that stone to wobble in any way at all. I’ve created another double joint. NARRATOR: While most small retaining walls have a batter of one to six, it is acceptable for some small walls to have a vertical front face, and no batter. And that’s very acceptable. The width of the foundation from front to back is increased to thirty inches, including the four inch front projection. dry stone retaining wall I stack dry stone walls nice and tight (not too tight), plenty of through stones, good hearting…and they just last and last. edge spanning the width of the wall) with smaller stones packed in between them. Retaining walls are a simplistic way to contain landscape or define areas within your yard. Ok,now, let’s try that. Ranging from granite to limestone and slate our Dry Stone walling products provide an innovative approach to natural stone … The edge of this course is set back from the foundation. A single cubic foot of wet soil can weigh up to 100 pounds. And then the trail will be about eight feet wide on the uphill side of the slope, just curving around very nicely through there. National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, Preservation Technology and Training Grants, Guidelines for Treatment of Cultural Landscapes, Building and Repairing Drystone Fences and Retaining Walls, Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain, Louisville and Jefferson County Parks Department. Wedge-shaped ends align and secure the stones carefully around the pipe. While the view is lovely, to provide a flat garden or lawn area you may need a retaining wall. PAUL WEBLEY: What I’ve got here is a mini-spirit level. As for all retaining walls, the foundation course projects out from the rest of the retaining wall by two to four inches. NARRATOR: The wall is built up in four to five inch layers. The wall would open at that particular point. with taut lines of string, chalk lines on Instead of mortar the walls were held together by the weight of stone and because the stones were matched and fitted together in such a way that as NARRATOR: Before any construction begins, the masons sort through the rock supply to separate out enough tie rocks and capstones for later use. NARRATOR: The foundation course of rocks for the wall should be laid horizontally. Alright, and so it’s seven inches, so that’s not enough to be stable. surface area touching one another survive because the friction of the stones rubbing against one another works against the pushing force exerted by the soil. The natural finish of the stones visually complements most … NARRATOR: The craft of the dry stone mason combines functionality with beauty. MICHAEL SMILEY: We’re building a bridal trail here, in this part of Iroquois Park. Whatever the shape, whatever the size, there are important principles which can ensure dry stone retaining walls are built to last. We’ll pack in a minute. Dry Stone Retaining Walls: This is the simplest form of retaining wall. frost, this will effect all retaining walls so the retaining wall will need to be constructed strong enough to offset the pushing force of the soil it's holding Dry stone walls are almost always built with a batter, which is the inward slope of the front face of the wall. Any questions? The center of each tie rock is thirty-six inches apart. You just want to get as much in there as you possibly can. NARRATOR: The courses are built up to level off the wall between the tie rocks. JAMES MILES: More, just a little more. 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