Why Dry? Advantages of drystone construction

Stone steps lead up to the Faerie Garden in Fairview, North Carolina.

Stone steps lead up to the Faerie Garden in Fairview, North Carolina.

Drystone or dry laid masonry refers to stonework built without using any mortar or cement to bond the work together. Gravity, friction and skillful placement ensure that the stonework stays where it’s intended. Dry stonework is the sustainable choice for landscape applications such as retaining walls, paths, patios, and steps. A well-crafted drystone retaining wall will have a smaller carbon footprint and will outlast a similarly sited mortared wall. Here are some of the other advantages of drystone masonry:

  • Flexible, moves rather than breaks in response to outside stresses
  • Drains water effectively, preventing build up of hydrostatic pressure, the force that pushes over mortared walls
  • Doesn’t require concrete footings or slabs or block wall backing
  • Weathers better and lasts longer
  • Easier to repair work or reuse the stone at a later date
  • Requires no waterproofing
  • Looks more natural in the landscape

Read more about dry vs. wet stone walls.