What is it about winter that makes a stone wall fall apart? It’s not like Santa trudged along it to deliver presents. Average rain and snowfall shouldn’t be enough to move rocks.
And yet you see these rocks, dislodged from your wall, sadly separated from the rest of their stony cohorts.
Robert Frost wrote an entire poem about it — Mending Wall. In it, he blames frozen ground, boulders falling from above and hunters looking for rabbits. If you live in a suburban area, falling boulders and rabbit hunters are unlikely culprits.
Regardless of whomever or whatever is to blame, something has to be done about your stone wall.
Stone Wall Origins
New England — Robert Frost’s home — is the mecca of stone walls. Its history dates back to the Ice Age, when retreating glaciers took the area’s soil with it, uncovering and leaving behind innumerable rocks. Many years later, the Little Ice Age, a particularly cold period from the 1300s to the 1800s, made it necessary to gather and burn lots of wood. This deforestation made the soil colder, which made for more frost heaves, and pushed more stones up across the landscape.
Colonial farmers spent many hours moving these stones out of the way and stacking them on the edge of their property. Hence, the stone wall.
Over the years, fitting the various-shaped stones into a durable wall became a sort of hobby for New Englanders, and a source of pride. (Remember, there was no cable TV then.)
Utah Stone Walls
The geology of Utah is such that we aren’t constantly tripping over and moving stones in our yards. Rocks can certainly be found in Utah, however, if you’re willing to trek out to U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management public lands, collect them and bring them back home.
If you’re not — and a lot of people are not — you can hire a professional hardscaper to build a wall for you.
You may want a stone wall to delineate a property line, create terraced gardens, frame a patio, act as a retaining wall, or for other reasons.
You can choose the type of stone you want, the shape, size and the color. Varieties mined locally will be cheaper than those trucked in from out of state.
Stone Wall Variations
If you go for a dry-laid wall, the stones will not be mortared together. This gives your stone wall more of a country feel, since all the parts are not rigidly fit together and solidified, like bricks. You can even put plants in the spaces in between stones for a more rustic look.
This isn’t possible with a retaining wall though. Retaining walls are not merely decorative, they’re structural. They hold together a landscape and prevent erosion.
Earthworks Landscaping is northern Utah’s expert in hardscapes. We specialize in building stone walls, walkways, fire pits, terraces, patios and more. If your stone wall has been reduced to a dangerous pile of loose rocks, call Earthworks Landscaping for a beautiful solution.