To me there is something romantic about stone walls. I think of Italian villas with pink or yellow roses cascading down the sides of chunky stone walls. There is a timelessness about them as this is the original material from which we created our first barriers from wildlife and yikes, invading hordes.
Rock and stone is a renewable source. It is under our feet every day. Mountains give up their loose bits by letting them rumble down to level ground or throw them skyward with incredible force. All we have to do is collect the ones we like.
In my garden there are times when it feels that all that I grow well is stone. When weeding or planting I remove bits of stone or pebbles to clear my pristine patch of earth only to find the next time more bits of rock waiting to be removed.
And so it was that I decided to look around in my neighborhood for stone walls. Being in an older part of town I knew of two stone houses and walked in that direction.
Growing up in Quebec we called these fieldstone houses. I don 't see many at all in the cities I go to in Ontario. Instead I believe brick was used more often.
Building rock walls is an art and a fading one at that. The wall (above) has looked liked this for years. I think it was perhaps put together haphazardly, some stones stayed while others shifted away. It does its job though, marking a boundary.
At first I thought this was a dry laid stone wall (above) but it is not. There is cement holding the rocks in place from behind. This leaves the look of dry laid but with less work and fiddling.
A pretty wall that is cemented with field stone. There is a progression in rock wall building I am trying to show you. Early stone walls were dry laid - think of Scotland's rolling hills and pastures divided by dry laid stone walls. Today, time is a precious commodity. Dry laid walls are very time consuming to build and require some knowledge of technique and skill.
The next two photos below is a newer form of building stone walls in my neighborhood. The size of the stone cut from a quarry is the main benefit to building a wall quickly.
The average homeowner can not build this wall. A bobcat is definitely required to lift and move these rocks, or should I say boulders?
You may remember our backyard renovation a few summers ago. My hubby built the stone retaining wall himself. The stone is cut on all sides - not our first choice - we like a more natural stone. But it fits together more easily than field stone for example.
While my new wall is never going to have cascading roses flow over it, it is does what it is needed to do and looks mighty fine in the process.