The Great Wall

There is an old saying that ‘practice makes perfect’ and Ian is taking it to heart. 

When we laid the limestone path and drip strip beside our garage, we had to sort the multitude of rocks that we find all throughout the garden.  The round ones we used in the drip strip, but the flat ones we put aside.  At the front of our house, the lawn down to the sidewalk is in two tiers. There is a grassy slope between the two, and I find it difficult to cut the grass on it.  I have long admired the stacked stone retaining walls in the neighbourhood and thought that one would be lovely here and solve the grass problem.

I suggested to Ian that we should get an idea of how much stone we will need to build this wall.  So he decided as he was moving it from beside the garage to build a small freestanding wall, just to give him the practice. He was like a little kid with a new toy, I guess it is like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

He actually did a great job, especially for his first attempt.

We discovered that we do not have enough (duh). The wall needs to be thicker. longer and just a bit taller.  Now the decision needs to be made, do we purchase the balance of the stone needed, or do we wait and see how many more we can discover in the garden.  I bet Ian votes for waiting, lol.


34 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    fairegarden said,

    Oh it is wonderful for a first attempt, Deborah! It does take practice. We have built and rebuilt many times here. Each one is better as we get the feel of the stone. For the impatient, buying stone is the way to go. One thing for certain, it never wears out and you can use and reuse it forever! A good investment, actually. 🙂

  2. 3

    Marguerite said,

    I too have admired these lovely stacked stone walls but fear I don’t have the patience to build one. I love puzzles but they can take me months to complete just one. A wall might take years! Obviously your attempt didn’t take nearly as long and it looks quite well done. Can’t wait to see the final result.

  3. 5

    Edith Hope said,

    Dearest D, I should call this a dry stone wall and I am filled with admiration at Ian’s very commendable practice attempt. He clearly has the skill and ability to carry out the job, the majority of stone is on site so, go ahead, and order in the rest and have the problem of the mowing of the grass at the front solved once and for all.

    Any more stone you come across will be used for another project. Invent one, if need be, to ensure action now!

  4. 7

    Laurrie said,

    Nice first attempt. I have discovered that whatever project you are starting, there is never enough material, never. Now that Ian’s gotten good at stacking these stones, you need to capitalize on his new skill and buy a truckload so he can build a proper wall while he’s got the hang of it!

  5. 9

    Beautiful first attempt, it’s surprising how much stone it actually takes to build one. I vote wait and see, it would be terrific if your wall could be built with stone exclusively from KG. 🙂

  6. 11

    Linda said,

    I am very impressed with your first attempt and at the same time very envious of the lovely rock/stone you have in your garden. I’m with Rebecca; wait and see. Building a complete wall with material from your own garden would be the fudge-y icing on the cake!

    • 12

      It is great fun having the stone in the garden, until you are digging a hole and you hit one. When I was planting my Lime Walk, there was a bit of fudging on the distances between trees, some rocks were just to big to move.

  7. 13

    PatioPatch said,

    Hello Deborah – what a lot of hard landscaping is going on at KG recently. Dry stone walls are lovely to look at and very wildlife friendly – all sorts of creatures can hide in there! It may wobble a bit until Ian is upskilled to craftsman status but then he has the rest of it to practice on – meanwhile a great first attempt

    Laura x

    • 14

      Laura, I am trying to get as much hard landscaping in as possible, while we are still young and the back is holding up. The years pass quickly, especially when you are one visiting occasionally.

  8. 15

    Rosie said,

    This is the type of wall I am used to seeing every day as all the fields near us have these as their boundary lines – I’m always digging up stuff like this. They have courses nearby teaching people how to do drystone walling here but I think Ian has done a wonderful job for a first attempt. How patient are you Deborah? can you wait that long to find the stones?

  9. 17

    Barbara said,

    If you’re lucky you might get some lizards in your dry wall. That would be a great addition to your garden. Good for Ian. Are you saying you actually removed all those stones from your lot? Whew.

  10. 19

    Sandra Jonas said,

    Deborah, buy the stone. Don’t wait, it make take years to get all the stone you need for a wall. The other saying is “Strike while the iron is hot!” Isince Ian has shown interested in doing it now… Great first attempt.

  11. 21

    Joy said,

    Hey Deborah ! Ian did a great job : ) .. stone walls are gorgeous no matter the size .. I was fortunate enough to see a large one put together as a child and I had such wonderful times playing on it .. I think you could say I have an emotional attachment to them where ever I see them ? LOL

  12. 23

    debsgarden said,

    Ian did a great job! I want low rock walls around the planting areas in my arbor garden, but have scavenged all I can from my own property for other projects. And rocks are outrageously expensive. I hope to buy some at the half price labor day sale at a local nursery. Even so, I doubt I will be able to afford all that I need. Gardening teaches patience!

  13. 25

    Ian did a great job, especially with limited materials. I love dry-stacked walls, they always remind me of the fabulous walls dividing fields and hedgerows in the north of England that I used to scrabble over as a child. Here, alas, we have very few stones at all, some shale-like mudstone, but it disintegrates when it rains 😦 Certainly not good enough for wall-building.

  14. 27

    I think the wall looks great and it looks like lovely stone to work with, but most of all i want to know where you find someone like Ian who gets excited at the prospect of the hard work involved!

  15. 29

    Wendy said,

    looks great!

    I would also vote to buy the stone. You can always find more uses for leftover stone. I still have a little stack. I have plans for something interesting- just need the motivation.

  16. 31

    Wendy said,

    Oh, and you might have seen my stone wall project. I built the potager using left over stone and was so happy to have that stone to match the stone of the big wall out back.

  17. 33

    catmint said,

    I think this is called a dry stone wall. It is very natural and beautiful and you can plant little things in the cracks when it’s finished. You’ve obviously got a capable handyman there.

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