While I’ve been laying out our garden, preparing beds and starting seedlings, my boyfriend has begun a project to rebuild our stone walls. We have several on the property but they are somewhat decrepit and in odd locations, so we are consolidating into one tall wall surrounding the garden (and giving the gardener a break from the road). Rumor has it we’re also going to move the driveway and the garage, but I’ll believe that when it is done.
We have learned a few things about making a stonewall, namely, it’s not as hard as it looks. All you need is a basic sense of design and an abundance of large Maine rocks. It takes 3-4 people to really get the job done, but it actually goes very quickly.
The first trick of course is a solid foundation, with the largest rocks on the bottom. The best way to move large rocks is with a sled behind a tractor or mower, it can be done in half the time. It helps if you are going downhill. Take a step back now, and fit the rest together by hand. Keep an eye out for how the notches fit together. You’ll find you get a tremendous sense of pride for that one spot where the two rocks match perfectly.
Putting a string across the top is vital not just to make sure that you get your wall to the height you need, but also to make sure your wall is truly level. Step back frequently to see how it is coming together, to check for any noticeable holes, and to get an idea of how it will look. It’s also helpful if the first side you do is the side that is the most hidden, should you make an noticeable mistakes. Keep picking away at it. If you are only one person, set a goal of three rocks a day. Be prepared to be interrupted every hour or so when a neighbor stops by to say hello and see what is going on. After all, good fences make good neighbors.
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