Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dry Stone Walling

Over the last, erm, 15 months, I've been building this dry stone retaining wall in the garden. I didn't think of it as an eco-option at first as stone is non-renewable, but then I compared it to its brick equivalent and realised:

1. stone has a lower embodied energy than brick

2. no mortar = less energy intensive cement manufacture

3. the gaps provide refuge for wildlife

The bonus is the source of the stone - Ladycross Quarry near Hexham. The stone is quarried by hand and the already quarried areas are converted into a nature reserve as they go along. It is a truly beautiful development - I have never heard or seen so many birds in one place in this country.

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At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great-looking wall, and the only energy lost in it has been that used to transport and install it.
Now that you have built a nice, straight retaining wall, you can just sit back and watch it...
Watch the top slowly move outwards as the bottom stays put.
Retaining walls need a design slightly different from the design of free-standing walls. Soil pressure pushes the top over unless it is tied back, anchored, or has a backslope (leans toward the earth it holds back).
The rate at which the wall topples over (months, years) depends on the soil cohesion, the moisture level, the traffic on top of it (should be none) and so on.
If you do another wall, be sure to reasearch it. For example, check out for retaining wall.

fred b, Ottawa

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Gareth Kane said...

Fred, thanks for your note.

First of all, it does lean backwards,

Secondly, only the top foot will be retaining anything (you can just about see the existing retaining wall I'm cladding) and I have some nice big slabs to tie it over the top of the brick wall.

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Gareth,
I would like to do similar to disguise a breeze-block retaining wall with local stone. Can you recommend any books/leaflets that would help me build something secure? thanks, Lindsey

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Gareth Kane said...

Hi Lindsey,

Try this:




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