How to: small wall w/2" red sandstone(flagstone)?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Garyl53, May 23, 2008.

  1. Garyl53

    Garyl53 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    Hi All,
    I was wondering if anyone had any instructions on building a small (2'X6', tapered at one end) retaining wall out of 2" red sandstone (flagstone). It is being used mostly as a design element although it will actually retain a small amount of soil.
    Can I dry stack over a 6"X18" gravel base?
    Will it last longer if I mortar the stone?
    If I dry stack do I need to mortar (or glue?) the capstone to keep it from shifting?
    Any pointer to some construction tips would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Gary
     
  2. 4Russl5

    4Russl5 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    Go to the library and read up on the subject, or research it on the web if it is important to you to do a good job for your client.
    Yes you can lay it on 5/8 minus, 4", to minimize movement. This is such a small wall, that to build it well would take about a 1/2 ton to 3/4 ton of stone. I see many peoples 'walls' that are failing after 1-2 years, small like this, because the stone is not laid 'length in' and supported beneath.
    Do not use any mortar because the beauty of dry laid stone is it's flexibility with the movement of the ground. It will only pull it apart and betray you.
    Go get this book to start if you have an interest in stone, 'Stone Primer' by Charles McRaven. Not the gosepel yet there are many truths on masonry, and also a great resource for more information.
    When I build low retaininng walls like this, my cap stones are always set well enough to where you can walk on the wall and there is no movement in any direction,and the cap functions as a bench seat along the length of the wall.
    I hope this helps. It sounds like a days work if you have flat stones.
    Russ
     
  3. Garyl53

    Garyl53 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    Hi,
    Thanks for the info. I am interested and I will pick up the book.
    I am curious how you are able to get the cap stones so stable over the joints of the stones underneath. My very limited experience is that the small differences in heights of the stones causes the caps to move easily.
    Gary
     
  4. 4Russl5

    4Russl5 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    Gary-
    It has to do with packing in between the courses, the voids, with what is called 'hearting'. Chips or pieces of stone placed from the inside of the fence or wall, not the outside as they will eventually fall out and weaken your wall. Also not gravel!
    You should find a dry stone walling workshop in your part of the world if you are more interested. I have done a bunch, and stone is my focus in the landscape.One more helpful point for you would be to locate, select, your capstones that are appropriate scale for your wall 2-4" thick should suffice depending on your wall stone.
    Your welcome-
    Russ
     
  5. Green Team Landscaping

    Green Team Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    this may be a little late, but whatever you do make sure the wall in the back of the dirt is reinforced with something not too noticeable or else you're gonna have all of that dirt collapse through and it wont look like you make a high quality wall if you know what i mean. i made that mistake at my house, and thank god it was a small wall, and my house
     
  6. Garyl53

    Garyl53 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    Hi,
    Walls are all done. Read a couple of books and articles to learn how to do it. Came out great!
    G
     

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