4 Tips To Keep Your Dry Stone Wall Looking Great All Year Long

Posted on: 28 May 2018

Dry stone walls are an ancient technique that results in beautiful structures that are resilient. Whether yours is old or new, here are a few tips to keep your dry stone wall in its best shape for years to come:

Monitor Regularly

Patrol the length of your stone wall at least once or twice per year to check for signs of damage, loose or broken rocks, and wildlife intrusion. These things are usually easy to fix, but they have to be caught before they become a larger issue. Original stones often go missing once they've fallen from the wall, so you'll have a harder time replacing them the longer you let the problem lie. If your wall is on a perimeter boundary, walk both sides of the wall as much as possible. 

Repair in the Right Way

If you have a damaged or cracked section of wall, it's tempting to pull out some mortar and try to fix it yourself. You should think twice before picking up a trowel, though. Using "wet" stone building methods or modern techniques to fix a single section of dry stone will likely only make the repair stand out by being visibly different. In addition, cement mortar actually works against the structure of a dry stone wall and could make it weaker. 

Choose Plants Wisely

Accompanying flowers, shrubs, trees, and vines are a beautiful part of many stone walls, but be sure to choose compatible plants to place around the wall. Don't plant trees too close to the wall if root systems will spread out and damage it from below. Keep in mind what wildlife will be attracted to the plants or trees as well. Because the soil around many stone walls' bases is poor, you may want to stick with hardy native plants that thrive in harsher conditions with less water.

Keep It Clean

Like any other landscape feature exposed to the elements all year round, stone walls will get dirty. Clear debris as soon as you can to prevent staining or damage to individual stones. You can generally use a garden hose sprayer or pressure washer to clean the stone facades. Use a circular motion to protect the rocks and remove dirt; then take a stiff brush and scrub more dirt off, being cautious for loose rocks. 

Spend a little time caring for this classic and hardy wall each season in order to protect it for your future enjoyment and that of the next generation.