What Is Dry Stone Walling? Purpose Of Dry Stone Wall
What Is Dry Stone Walling?
Dry stone walling is a traditional form of construction using interlocking stones without any mortar or cement.
It involves building large walls and small boundary markers from rocks gathered from the local area.
Dry stone walls are some of the oldest types of masonry structure in existence, having been used for thousands of years for containing animals and marking land boundaries among other things.
The skillful placement of specially shaped stones to build an evenly layered wall that can withstand incredible force is the basis of dry stone walling, with no cement present these structures rely solely on gravity to stay intact.
This method has created impressive structures still seen in many parts of the world today, being able to stand strong through weather events and passing time.
What Is The Purpose Of Dry Stone Wall?
The purpose of dry stone walls is to divide lands, mark a boundary between properties, confine livestock and protect crops.
Dry stone walls are also used to construct terracing for growing on slopes, create fences for animals or as decorative features in gardens.
By choosing the most appropriate type of dry stone wall for the job, a well built structure can last hundreds of years with minimal maintenance.
They are an attractive way to bring rustic charm to landscaping projects or agricultural settings and create characterful divides between different areas of land.
How Do You Build Dry Stone Walls?
To construct a drystone wall:
- Dig a trench and place larger stones at the bottom, filling in with smaller stones as needed.
- Build the wall up on both sides, using layers of stones with their long sides facing into the wall, and making sure to fill in the middle with smaller rocks.
- Taper the wall as you go up for added stability. If the wall is large, add large through stones at intervals for increased stability, and add a layer of coping stones at the top to finish.
- To add plants to the wall, it is best to add peat-free compost, grit, and plants as you build, but it can also be done at the end using small plants or seedlings.
What Tools Do You Need For Dry Stone Walling?
To build a traditional dry stone wall, you will need certain equipment, including a hammer for dressing the stones, especially the cap stones.
Alternative options include a club hammer and wide chisel, but they require both hands and take longer to use. Safety gear such as gloves, goggles, reinforced boots, and knee pads are necessary.
Tools such as wooden “A” frames, lines, plumb line, and spirit level are used to keep the wall straight and vertical.
Equipment for moving and transporting heavy stones, such as strong buckets and crow bars, will also be needed, as well as a spade or shovel for digging the foundation trench.
The specific equipment needed may vary depending on the location, size, and complexity of the wall you plan to build.
What Stone Is Used For Dry Stone Walls?
Dry stone walls can be constructed using materials such as slate, granite, and other types of stone. Roughly broken blocks of hammered granite are typically used.
The stones come in various shapes, and it takes skill to fit them together seamlessly when only using earth as the binding agent.
What Holds Dry Stone Walls Together?
A dry stonewall is built by utilizing the forces of friction and gravity. The stones are placed in such a way that they do not slide apart, and the weight of the stones increases the friction between them.
To construct a strong wall, the following five principles should be followed: set all the stones so that their length goes into the wall, use larger pieces to fill voids and increase points of contact, ensure that each stone spans the joint in the course below, align the faces of the stones with the outside of the wall, and set each stone level to support the stones above it.