chip away projections from a stone to give it a flat surface to stack the following course. You’ll often need to split the length or width of a rock to fit your wall design. These cuts are made on- site as need using a brick ham- mer to maintain the natural cleft face of the rock (as opposed to using a wet saw which would achieve a smooth, obviously man- made cut). The courses are laid using masonry cement beneath each, applied along the rear edge of each course. The irregular shape of the stones leaves several gaps and voids in the wall. These voids should be filled with smaller rocks that are back-buttered with mortar then strategically inserted to strengthen the wall and give it a more uniform appearance. The cut-off waste pieces are often used to fill these voids, but many of these gaps require particular shapes which have to be shaped with the brick hammer for a snug fit.
NATURAL STONE FIRE PIT
The focal point of our recent landscaping project is a large fire pit built using a freestanding dry-stack stone wall. The fire pit itself was surrounded by a larger secondary wall built in the same manner. The site was first excavated, graded and compacted in prep- aration for the walls, creating a depression several inches deep along the base. These larger walls call for much larger stones, and the largest selections are used for the base course. To build the walls, arrange the base stones with their flattest and widest face upward, so you can make the best selection as you work. It may help to line the face of the wall with stakes for a visual reference. Install drainage pipe at this time as needed. Place the large base stones inside the trench and align the front faces along the edge of the wall. Choose pieces that nest well together, which might be stones of
The bottom couple of wall courses were buried below grade to strengthen the base. Sidewalk pavers were mortared onto the top course of the wall to serve as the capstone.
Shown is the completed walkway with natural stone bordering the uphill edge of the sidewalk.
in this issue
Click to subscribe to this magazine
article text for page
< previous story
next story >
Share this page with a friend
Save to “My Stuff”
Subscribe to this magazine