Did you know that the terraced retaining walls that were built by the Incas at Machu Picchu date all the way back to the 15th century? There’s a reason that classic landscape design elements like the dry-stacked wall have endured for centuries. Not only do they look great, but they are designed to stand the test of time against harsh weather, earthquakes, and centuries of use. Dry-stacked walls are a good choice for any property and are versatile enough to perfectly fit in any style. Keep reading to learn more about why we love dry-stacked walls and how you can utilize them in your landscape design.
How Do Dry-Stacked Walls Work?
Essentially, a dry-stacked wall is any outdoor stone wall that has been built without mortar to bind the stones together. This technique is ideal for retaining walls and freestanding accent walls. Not only are these walls incredibly strong thanks to interlocking construction, but they also can stretch and bend with the landscape because they are made without the use of mortar. This flexibility helps the walls to easily go along with the natural movement of the land during changes in temperature—particularly during the warmer months and times of continued frost. Because of this adaptability, dry-stacked walls don’t require a conventional foundation that must be set deep below the frost line.
Additional benefits of investing in a dry-stacked stone wall include:
- Natural Permeability — Water is able to freely pass through the mortar-less joints of a dry-stacked stone wall. This natural permeability helps to alleviate the need to invest in an additional drainage system, saving homeowners from having to divert water away from the wall to relieve pressure.
- Longevity — Freely stacked stone walls are designed to allow for natural expansion and contraction. Therefore, this type of wall is much less susceptible to normal shifting and cracking than you might find with a traditional retaining wall. Ideally, your dry-stacked stone wall should look attractive and maintain its structural integrity for many years to come once construction is completed.
- Variety — You can be creative as you’d like when building a dry-stacked wall. Whether you prefer round stones, river rocks, or flat stones—there’s a stone material available to suit any design aesthetic. However, keep in mind that different stone materials are known for being easier to work with than others. For example, flat stone is typically the fastest and easiest option, while stones with rounded edges require more careful planning.
In addition to being attractive and versatile, dry-stacked walls can be created from a variety of materials. Typically, building a dry-stacked wall will cost homeowners anywhere from $65 to $100 per square foot, including all materials and labor. However, for those interested in an especially deep dry-stacked wall, the costs can climb. Working with an experienced landscape construction team can help to prevent costs from going outside your budget and allow you to enjoy peace of mind with a durable and long-lasting retaining wall.