Dry stone walling was originally a popular method for creating boundaries due to the fact that dry stone walls are low cost and consist only of stones, which are easy to source in certain areas of the UK. Many people still use these stone walling techniques for these reasons, but also because of their natural beauty and ability to blend into the countryside. The popularity of dry stone walls is wide spread in the UK, but they are used mainly in Scotland, Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire. The walls themselves are made by using stones and rocks placed specifically so that they interlock, eventually forming a sturdy structure. They are often used for field boundaries, but also as a garden boundary, which is why it is useful for people to know how to build them for themselves.
The First Step
The first thing you need to do is to estimate how much stone you require for your wall. Once you have done that then you will need to find a source of stones. The best thing about stone walling is that it requires stones of various shapes and sizes, so that you can find them just about anywhere. You could go scouring through the countryside (although this could prove very time consuming) or find a recently demolished out-building and request use of the stones that are likely to be going to go to the tip! Alternatively you can buy stones from certain suppliers, limestone is a very popular choice for dry stone boundaries.
How to Build a Dry Stone Wall
Now to the building of the wall itself – this begins by digging a shallow trench in an outline as you want your wall to sit. Once you have done that you need to make the base of the wall from very flat and wide stones. It is important that these stones are all level with one and other. The next layer should have the stones place over the joints of the stones on the base. This is the technique you continue to use as you build each layer. The stones should get gradually smaller as you build a higher wall and remember not to use small stones near the base of the wall as this will cause it to be unstable. There are various dry stone walling courses around the country or if you are not sure that you are up to the job then call in an expert!