Connect to history with Dry Stone Walls

Dry Stone Walls

As a landscape designer, and dry stone walling enthusiast, I thought I’d make a case for restoring the practice of drystone masonry. Dry stone walls have long been a feature of the agricultural landscape, and it is difficult to find someone who does not express an appreciation for the beauty of an old stone wall, so often covered in mosses and lichens, standing as a silent witness to times long past. Despite this appreciation, we rarely see drystone masonry in the modern American landscape, and people complain that our rural areas lack the charm of the pastoral landscapes of the Old World. But you can help bring the charm back! Just like planting a tree that you will never see at maturity, it takes a little foresight to realize that building a drystack wall will make a contribution to your local landscape that persists long after you are gone. Sadly we don’t build things to last anymore, and if it is built to last it is typically made of plastic… (Think of all the plastic fencing you see these days). It doesn’t have to be that way however- with attention to a few small details, a drystack wall is relatively easy to construct, and can be done more affordably than you might think. I’m not here to give you a how-to on drystack masonry however, rather I’d like to delve into its history a bit- so you can get a sense of its place in the American landscape, hopefully provide you with some encouragement for its preservation and use in the future:

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