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View Full Version : Before I even Start? Dry stacking Veneer Flagstone?


ny scaper
07-25-2011, 11:50 AM
I've read almost all the posts on here for Dry stacking walls and learned alot. I've done a couple in the past at my own place and they have done and held up well. I was using much larger stone though.
I have a client who has a small 20' (linear) which she would like a small wall built. She has a pallat of veneer flagstone (no big pieces - all under 12'' approx) leftover from a job completed at her parents house. The wall would be approx 18'' at it highest point. Would it be possible to construct a wall with these smaller pieces without running into issues as there wont be much as far as tie stones or Cornerstones?
Thanks in advance. I'm sure I'll have lots of follow up questions and will try and get pics as soon as possible.

4Russl5
07-26-2011, 11:08 PM
You should pick your stone as you have to warranty your work. I never let clients pick my stone....never! They go for color but don't understand the need to build structurally. You should have 3-5" cap stone on a wall that is 18-20" thick... through don't matter for a wall that low as they go on at 18" in height. Corner stones of substance are also key and they should be 4-5" thick. They build a lot of walls with thin stone in Mass. I was just back there purchasing stone for a client for 5 days and saw many in that style. I don't know if they were dry or mortared. Also just because they exist does not make them good or strong, just a local vernacular in stone.
Walls holding up well should be measured in 100 year increments. Look up the specifications for the Dry stone walling association of Great Brittan.

ny scaper
07-27-2011, 04:27 PM
Good point 4Russ and thanks for the response,
I told her Monday that there will be little/no stability with only smaller stones and either way, she would have to purchase larger ones to make it work. She said, I trust you do what you do giving me free reign on the project.
So I'm going with 6''-8'' natural fieldstone. Its not a huge job other than getting the crusher run in there because its up a large hill in the backyard. Its going to be physically demanding and a PITA but money's money.
One more question, if at it's highest point its 16'' to 18'', how deep should I go with the stone? Two stacks or should it be the same width as it is high?

4Russl5
07-27-2011, 10:15 PM
18" thick if you have a 12" cap... or so. Or 24" thick if you have an 18" cap. Nice and sturdy so people can sit safely and little people can frolic!

ny scaper
07-28-2011, 10:19 AM
Understood. Thanks for the help. I'll try and get some before and after's up at some point so you guys can chare your wisdom.

ny scaper
07-29-2011, 04:49 PM
Demoed the old existing wooden and stone wall last night and started the trench. No real issues other than the cinder blocks that they used 8" down! PIA to get out as the location of the wall is not reachable by machine. I was thinking about running a drainage pipe behind the wall seeing that there is an incline of approx 15 degrees. Not sure if its overkill or not seeing that its dry stacked and only going to be 18'' high?
Also wondering if I could just dig out the entire area behind the wall like three feet and just fill it in completely with crusher as I go. Is this adviseable or should I slope it back from the bottom of the trench out? I think using that amount of crusher will only stabilize further, especially with the incline. Everything I've read says that the trench only needs to be 3-4 inches wider than the widest stone and backfill it with crusher. Thanks in advance.

4Russl5
07-29-2011, 09:45 PM
Dude... not knowing the site, or slope above, or the soils... an 18" wall is really decorative and supporting any load because you simply do not have enough wall weight to do much. You don't need drains behind dry stone retaining walls. Moisture naturally will be able to move to the face and disapate. NO GRAVEL/CRUSHER behind or IN your wall. Use stone and build it to proper depth and back fill with soil. Scrape off the top soil and build on 4-5" of crushed stone, or build to DSC specifications and put in 4-5" thick foundation stones level like you would a patio, then build your wall on top. Don't believe everything you read on the web. For accurate specifications go to the great Britan Dry stone walling association site and down load pdf's that are what trained and certified dry stone wallers build to throughout the world... myself included even though I am DSC certified guy. You are welcome.