Tips and Tricks provided by Hillside Stone & Garden
~ Creating a Dry Stack Wall or Planter ~
A dry stack wall, planter or other project could be created with Wallstone or Ledgestone, both coming in a variety of colours ranging from golds and silvers, to grey and brown and even some green and turquoise and some with a combination of a few colours.
Why use Natural Stone instead of pre-cast blocks?
Using natural stone instead of pre-cast blocks has a number of advantages. Natural Stone will not fade or bleed compared to a pre-cast block that would begin to bleed lime stains after just a year or two. After completion of your project, any settling that occurs will just add character to a natural stone wall whereas any settling that would occur in a pre-cast black wall will just result in cracks that can only be fixed by removing the wall to replace the cracked blocks, and of course the biggest advantage to natural stone is the wide variety of colour, size, and thicknesses to choose from instead of plain old grey cement. These photos below are an example of the results of settling, and this was installed by a professional
How do I get Started?
Another advantage to a natural stone wall is there is no footings needed. You simple begin by laying stones where you want to build the wall backfilling with dirt, sand or any other granular material as you go. You will want to compact each level with a hand tamper or compactoras well. Laying the stones as level as possible and by tilting the wall about 10 degrees backwards to prevent it from wanting to fall forward, it is possible to go up to 6 ft high.
How much stone do I need?
Wallstone: Most drystack wallstone gives approximately 30 square feet of wall face per ton of stone. Average result: 1 ton will build a wall 1' high by 30' long.
Ledgestone: Most drystack ledgestone gives approximately 40 square feet of wall face per ton of stone. Average result: 1 ton will build a wall 1' high by 40' long.
Note: Wallstone and Ledgestone can also be used as a veneer, it will however need to be mortared, but you will get approximately 60-70 square feet per ton of wall facing.
How do I do it?
First, start laying the stones down where you want the wall then backfill each row as you go tamping behind the stone in order to compact granular fill ( this will allow drainage behind the wall but can be built without it depending on height).
Next, place the second layer of stone on top of the first layer, but stagger the joints to give it more strength and character. Compact behind the stone, similar to the process on the first layer. A tamping plate or sledge hammer is best used for this purpose. Another option is a plate packer, available for rent at Hillside Stone & Garden. If you are using a granular fill, water will aid in the compaction process as well.
Continue placing each layer until you reach your desired height, walls at a height higher than 18" should be sloped backwards slightly for added stability
I have no experience, do I need to hire someone?
Most of the walls you see in our display pictures were done by a homeowner with no prior experience and in some spots they settled up to 2", can you tell where? - The short answer is NO, with a level and some patience and creativity you will be able to build a beautiful retaining wall, planter box, firepit or any other project you may have in mind with no problems or additional cost for installation. However, if you wish to pass on the job to someone else, we would be happy to recommend some local contractors to get the job done for you as well.
Hillside Stone & Garden