Example of filler between wall. Old wall pictured to the left, tied in with new wall.

‘New’ Stone

Repair Work

This wall had crumbled and sunk on the inside. The wall was built by my Great Grandfather over 100 years ago. So it has stood the test of time. The side sections are still strong, so the sunken area is to be stripped back.

The toppings are removed, ready to be re installed on the new section when complete.

The wall is re-built and tied into the old wall.

Self Supporting Stile Built Into Wall

Cross Section & Terminology

I follow the tradition method which has been passed down from generation to generation when building a dry stone wall.

Much of the terminology varies from village to village, but the principles are the same.


Insurance Work After Car Hit The Wall

Agricultural Wall

Garden Wall With Built In Table

From Foundations to Toppings

Foundations are dug out and filled with a hard core base, to help drainage and give a solid foundation to build on. The foundation stones are added.

Through stones are added to support the wall from side to side. The inner section is constantly filled with filler.

The wall is built leaning in towards itself, this is called the ‘batter’. This follows the batter frame and line bands keep it in alignment.

Through stones are added to give the wall strength

Capping stones are added to shield and shed rain water from going inside the wall.

All the stones are placed with a slight lean outwards, so water does not penetrate the wall. The face of each stone is also laid with the thinner side to the top, so the water runs off.

Toppings are added. In agricultural dry stone walls, the sharper edges are faced towards the stock field to discourage animals from leaning over and jumping the wall.

In residential areas the smoother, consistent toppings are facing towards the most visible side.

The finished wall.

The wall should be fit to stand for the next 100 years. The fact that there is no sand and cement used during the building process means that the wall has flexibility to shift with the natural ground movement. This wall is built in an ex-mining area, where ground movement is not uncommon. Had the toppings been cemented in place, the wall could have been prone to hollows and dips within the top section, as the cappings and toppings can not adjust in time with the movement in the lower sections of the wall.

Rockery Design Time-Line

Design and Build example

Old, collapsed wall with existing standing stone

Area is cleared and pulled back to old foundations. Corner piece is left, to tie into.

Breeze block support and bracket added to strengthen. The stone is located in a yard so will now have strength if clipped by a vehicle.

Crumbled brick is replaced with new brick. Laid on top of hard core, plus a sand and cement dry mix. The dampness will set the dry mix.

Design Phases

The client wanted a rockery structure based on a rowing boat and incorporating the existing standing stone.

Design brief
My initial plan from the low side
My plan from the top side

Building Work Starts

Back is back filled with loose stone

Low side built up, just below final height. Right side tied into old existing wall.

Top section cut out and dug back to solid clay. Ready to be filled with hard core and crushed stone, to give a solid base and help with drainage.

Stone features added. Here we used some old discarded troughs and random sized solid flag stones. The gaps are left to be filled with soil for plants and flowers.

The finished ‘rowing boat’ design rockery, ready to be planted up.