For thousands of years people have used stone to construct attractive fences. Although in large part security measures, they often greatly enhance the aesthetics of property. They may border a street, driveway, promenade, or garden. The material is also versatile and available from many different sources.
Types of Stone
Stone quarried from mines is the best known and perhaps the most common kind of stone. Many stone walls are constructed of either granite or limestone. Granite is heavier and it splits along planes more precisely. It also tends to cost more than other types. Limestone is lighter and cheaper than granite, however it does not split as cleanly. However, other sources may also serve your needs. Stone manufactured to appear natural has the same appearance as natural stone but may be far less expensive.
Characteristics of a Stone Fence
Besides its materials, stone walls are also durable, lasting for years. They do not require maintenance as regularly as wood or chain link and are not affected by most weather. They also resist fire and insects. Aesthetically, stone walls are often among the most attractive of perimeter barriers and they contribute variations in texture, color, and dimensions to gardens and yards.
In addition to the wall itself, you may add additional elements such as finials and turrets. These elements may also be utilized to camouflage otherwise unsightly elements like cameras or lighting fixtures that by themselves are not aesthetically appealing. On the other hand, decorative lighting may compliment the wall without need of camouflage.
Stone Fence Building
Before embarking to build a stone wall, you should note that this is not likely a simplistic project. The homeowner has two choices: pay a professional to build the wall, which can be very expensive or build it himself/herself which entails much hard work. If you decide to build the wall yourself then you should follow accepted practices to ensure sturdiness.
First, plan the length, width, and height of your wall. Outline the path of your wall with stakes and string. Decide the height for your wall and then determine its corresponding width. Generally speaking, the wall should slope at a rate of one inch per one foot of wall height. Many experts recommend assembling a gauge composed of three planks nailed together to form a right triangle with an angle corresponding to the wall's angle from an imaginary vertical line from the edge of one its capstones to the base and out to base's edge in order to measure the slope of the wall.
Before you build your wall you will first need to dig a trench to contain its lowest level as a foundation. If you plan the wall to reach no more than three feet in height, then only a six-inch trench is necessary. However, walls greater than three feet in height require the trench to be dug below the frost line. If you plan to build your wall with rectangular stones, mortar is not necessary. Gravity and friction maintain the wall.
Place the heavier stones on the bottom; try to lay the flattest side of the stone facing upwards. These stones form a spine along the base of the wall and stabilize it. Other large stones, known as bonding stones, are long and flat and placed at regular intervals. Bonding stones help to distribute weight across the wall more evenly. Use smaller stones, known as fillers, in the intervening spaces between these larger stones.
Your flattest stones should be used as capstones, those that you use to define the top of the wall. If you plan to use round stones, you will need to use mortar to cement the stones together. To change any stones shape, you may use a hammer and chisel. Experts recommend using a grease pencil to mark break line.
Places to Obtain Stones for Fences
Some retail outlets sell stone or faux stone, but people often also obtain stone from recent digging projects that others have completed. In this case, the project's manager or funder may give the stones away rather than have to pay to have them hauled away for disposal. You should shop around to find the most advantageous deal.