Natural Stone Wall

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Peach, Jan 19, 2004.

  1. Peach

    Peach LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    We are in progress on this wall. Anyone willing to offer a sq ft price on natural stone walls and a comparable on manufactured retaining walls? The market prices around here are uninformative, with crazy swings depending on things like reputation, bidder knowledge, etc. We are in midwest.

    swoff ip steps 2 cropped.jpg
  2. steve in Pa.

    steve in Pa. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    looks great.
  3. jwholden

    jwholden LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 218

    I love that stone. It looks like it installs like a SRW but looks like real stone. Beautiful!!!
  4. Black Water

    Black Water LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    Awsome. Great job!
  5. bcx400

    bcx400 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 77

    Your wall and steps look great! The type/shape of stone you are using may look easy to lay- but I know from experience that it is not as easy as it looks. Stone that is close to square/cubic in nature (but not) is difficult to install dry-laid, at least without a bunch of 'shims' or working the stone w/hammer and chisel. This type of stone is actually easier to install with mortared joints, and is often used as a veneer for the front of homes.
    Most of the stone walls I build are of PA fieldstone, thinner and somewhat more irregular. A stone wall takes a lot of labor to build, if it is done right. I see many 'landscapers' building so-called stone walls off the corner of a house. Instead of spending time to prep the base and build a strong wall, they often just stack the stone on the lawn, leaning into a pile of topsoil.

    Properly done, a good dry-laid stone wall should fetch at least $40 per square foot. Depending on the stone $60.00 per square foot is not unreasonable.

  6. Peach

    Peach LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    WOW.... I had no idea. $40 to $60?

    This is our first significant Natural SW. It is tough work...very. We DO high end stuff primarily, esp. hardscape. I am very low on bid... primarilly because it's the first part of a significant job .... $135K... and I really LIKE the customer. (Also it's winter wages for me and mine. ) He gave our company our first significant work and we've been going from millionaire to millionaire ever since.

    My son & I are building this alone. We are using geogrid in sections ... and basically using same technique as SRW. lots of compacting, drainage, etc.

    Our technique is to shape at least 50% of the stones to improve lay and visible joints. We use 16 & 12 lb sledges and LOTS of hand chisel and rock hammer.

    It's about 1000 sq ft. Steps increased from 4'wide to 5'. Wall height increased 3' in one section. Upcharges no problem ... verbal communication so far.

    This is a very difficult build ... to do it beautifully. Customer says it's fantastic. I agree I guess though I am first #1 critic...actually the son is harder than I am. He's an artist. He looks at my work..shakes his head...and often enough rebuilds. I laugh and go to another spot....I'm the machine operator he's the builder.

    Your town house free standing wall looks fantastic. I'll bet that's tough to make perfectly.

    I'd like to show more pics when this wall is done. Check back please.. you are just the guy I was hoping to hear from. I am a high end landscaper with a ra[idly growing big market rep. My goal is to be top five in area with reputation as quality and fair price. But I'm going broke. F'instance .... this wall is $15K ... and the customer has asked for a 15K reduction on another part due to a competitor bid reduction when they realized the hadn't won the job. I'm about to say yes ... my wife thinks I'm insane. I probably am.

  7. bcx400

    bcx400 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 77

    Peach- I know how it is with homeowners asking for price reductions or 'breaks.' I always tell them I will give them a price break IF that portion of the job can be done for less labor/costs than originally quoted. I also tell them that any other portions of the job may be more expensive, since they now want to work on a time and materials basis. I also tell them that I never 'inflate' my prices or add extra for negotiation. My prices are fair and honest- if I have to cut my prices, the only leeway I have is by reducing profit. If you reduce profit, you might as well work for someone else.

    Keep track of all your hours and material costs for that wall. Its amazing how much time and money it costs when you add up the hours and materials!

    I know costs vary geographically, but in my area, I would get minimum $40.00 per man hour if I had to build a wall T&M.
  8. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,041

    Hi Peach.

    Here is a quote from this post.

    "Walls are around $22.00 sff and go up."

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