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Expert Stone Wall Construction

Jan 7, 2013 | Pavement, Services

Stone wall construction makes good use of naturally occurring materials that exist across the state of Maryland and the surrounding areas. When properly engineered, stone retaining walls can last literally for a lifetime. Install one and you may make a contribution to those that tend to the property far into the future — perhaps even your own grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

Originally, stone walls and retaining walls were a natural outgrowth of freeze-thaw cycles slowly heaving large rocks toward the surface of area farm fields. Such stones were habitually cleared from the fields after the spring plowing. Today, other rocks may be quarried. This adds the potential for more angular rocks that will interlock well. It also offers the potential for more monochromatic designs where rocks will be consistently brown, gray, black, etc.


Smaller Walls

Lesser size retaining walls can be constructed of a single layer of interlocking stones or rocks. Proper backfilling techniques are a key to durable, stable walls.


Tilted Walls

Walls higher than about three feet are typically tilted into the hill for added stability.


Wider Base

Multiple layers of interlocking stones can further stabilize such retaining walls. Adding layers at the bottom of the wall further strengthens the base. Larger stones are often used in lower sections of the wall. They better resist freeze-thaw cycles and better handle the weight of the wall above.

More than meets the eye — higher walls still only show that outer course of rock. That outer layer of material may mask the fact that the base of taller walls may be as much as three or even four feet wide.



Leaving the construction of retaining walls to the pros can be better than risking serious injury working with heavy stones without the right hydraulic and other equipment. Also, mishaps due to improper construction techniques have resulted in partial wall collapses that cause injury.



Long straight walls and those that flow along the natural lines of the property are possibilities. Professional landscape designers can work with you to create the aesthetics that you want.

If you live in Washington, DC or the Maryland suburbs, we can offer creative and contemporary landscape solutions. Contact us so that we might get acquainted with your plans and ideas.


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About the Author

Matt Johnson grew up in a family of landscapers and gardeners as the grandson of Raymond Johnson (Founder, 1933, Johnson's Florist and Garden Center) and son of James and Carol Johnson (Founders, 1960, Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.). Since 2007, he has led Johnson's Landscaping Service with his brother, Charlie.  Matt and his wife Jaime live in Petworth in Northwest DC with their 3 sons and 2 big dogs.

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