The Art Of The Dry Stack Stone Wall

Dry (without mortar) stone work in the hands of a skilled waller is an art form. An art form that will last multiple lifetimes and serves multiple functions. Using but one tool; the hammer, and much patience and strength, a skilled waller can lay yards of fence per day. Most modern wallers do not like to shape stones but instead prefer to locate the perfect nature shaped stone. As their eyes have developed an acute sense of space, an experienced waller most times will only pick up a stone once, before positioning it.

Amazing Stone Walls Around The World

Stone Walls
Stone wall with picket gate in Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard by
Jeffrey Bale.

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Stone wall by Matt Sevigny.

Stone Wall
Contemporary stone wall in West Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard
by Jeffrey Bale.

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Dry stone wall, Ireland. Local residents are encouraged to erect and maintain stone walls. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of dry stone walls in Great Britain and Ireland, some date back to 3,500 BC. © Paul McIlroy.

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Dry stone wall in Ireland. Due to centuries of farming and lifting rocks from the soil just about every boundary in Ireland has a stone wall.

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Stone wall, Kellyburn Park, Dollar, UK. This type of vertical capstone is typical in Ireland. By

Stone Wall
Dry stone wall surrounds a replica of a traditional blackhouse built by the DSWAC in Ontario, Canada. If you build a wide, double stone wall, you can fill the top with a little bit of soil for shallow rooted plants. If you let roots go deep into a wall, those roots will destroy the wall.

Stone Wall
Stone wall in California by Jeffrey Bale.

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Stone wall, 80 feet long x 4 feet high, British Columbia, Canada.

stone enclosure
Must be nice and warm here on a sunny afternoon. Canada.

dry stone wall
Stone patio by Lew French.
Lew was born in a small farming town in Minnesota. He started to work with stone when he was nineteen years old. He moved to Martha’s Vineyard over twenty years ago and has worked on his own stone designs exclusively since.

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Close up of one of Lew’s walls. “Grout lines do not exist—his compositions do not rely on mortar, which is only used for safety.”

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Stone wall by Lew French.

stone wall
By Lew French.

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Detail of a rock wall shower surround.
By Lew French.

dry stone wall
Rock and shingle wall. Door opens to a garden. Lew French has a new book forthcoming. His first book, Stone by Design can be purchased on Amazon.

rock wall
Slate wall by Andy Goldsworthy.

dry stone wall
Slate and rock wall by Andy Goldsworthy.

dry stone wall
Wall by Andy Goldsworthy in Bedford, NY. A vertically laid wall holds up an enormous boulder.

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Stone River, 2001 by Andy Goldsworthy.
Stanford University, California.

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Storm King Wall in Mountainville, New York built in 1997. A 2,278 foot snaking wall plunges into a pond but reemerges on the other side.
By Andy Goldsworthy.

dry stone wall
Dry stone retaining wall in a park in Garachico town centre,
Canary Islands.

dry stone wall
Dry stone wallflower.

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Wave Wall in Aptos California by Michael Eckerman. There must be some mortar behind there.

river rock wall
River rock wall. Santa Cruz Mountains. By Michael Eckerman.

dry stone wall
Dry stone wall with tree built by Eric Landman in memeory of his wife Kerry. Kerry Landman Memorial, Island Lake Conservation Area, Mono, Ontario. The main wall is Limestone with local rounded granite fieldstones that were found on site to represent the leaves. A lot of them had green moss on them that added to the effect of the stones looking like foliage.

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Wall in Cèvennes, France by Roland Mousquès, one of the founders of the Association Artisans Bâtisseurs en Pierre Sèche, France’s drywall association. Workshops: &

inca wall
The Inca were masterful stone wallers. The fittings are so tight that a knife cannot penetrate the cracks between the stones.

Dry stone wall with moongate.
Built by Carl Wright in his Garden at Caher Bridge, Co Clare.

dry stone wall with fireplace
Incorporate a fireplace into your stone wall. Canadian waller Stephen Niven won a prize in 2009 with this dry stone fireplace.

stone raised bed
Stone raised bed.

stone wall with potted plant
Dry stone wall with integrated pot.
Water draining off a slope can seep through the rocks, instead of causing pressure on a cemented wall.

stacked stone wall
Incorporate a face, by Jerry Boyle.

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Dry stone wall in dandelion design by George Weaver.

dry stone wall
For added stability dry stone walls are built wider at the bottom and taper toward the top. Image:

Stonexus Magazine, very inspiring!!!:

Video: Walls of Stone: How to Build Drystone Walls and Rock Fences:

Technical Specifications for Dry Stone Walls:

More dry stone wall inspiration here:

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Author: Keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building.

  1. We have a 135 pound tortoise and he has destroyed our backyard. So I thought we could enclose an area with a stone wall too tall for Nelson, the tortoise and plant lovely flowers there in. Good idea? We live next to a usually dry stream bed (California drought) with lots and lots of stones. I am an old lady (78) and my husband is an old man (85). Any suggestions you might be willing to offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely, Jeudi Curtis

    6143 paseo canyon drive

    Malibu, ca. 90265

    Ps we have three strapping sons who might be encouraged to lend a hand

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