Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shang shí dŭ yuè Stone Project

Shang shí dŭ yuè  - "Rock upon which to gaze at the moon."


The customer contacted me to build a wall around the large stone in his yard. As I started to build the wall I asked him to please give me the name of the project. The name says it all. I could just sit or lay on this stone. A neighbor said how when her daughter was growing up. She would stand on their large stone and sing away. Just like it was here own stage. These large flat stones are all over this mountain area of Frederick. The have beautiful grey, blues, and silver colors. They are very light stones making them easy to move.

After the dig out I marked the area and set up string lines. Now you can start to see the large flat stone.

 Foundation bed dug out 3-4" down 24" wide.

Foundation stones placed level with grade (earth) Frames set up middle frame is the top of wall. The wall will be built level across full section. This was built as a protruding foundation. This means the wall will be set back from foundation stones 4". The frames are built out of 1"x4" wood with a 1:6 batter- for every 6 inchs up the wall will come in 1 inch.

Wall build started on right side. Large stone in wall had been placed as a step. I planned on having the wall built on top of it.

Later on the build I started on the left side building up the wall head. The reason for starting at the other end was to have every thing blend into the middle. If you build from one direction you will make your work go quick. But when you get to your other end you will need to come in. Other wise you will find it even harder to find the right size stones.

You will also notice the wall frames spaced out. I space the frames out to a distances which allow me to finish building in a day. The benefit I can see what I got done every day. I also set me string lines level and build to them. As you will notice the earth changes grade just about every where on this job site. Tricky building curves - I freestyle them keeping the frames close to the outer edges not to get in my way.

 Home owner has begun to place plants. All vertical stones place for different visual perspectives from multiple vantage points. More vertical stones and plants will be installed within the months to follow. The home owner has a beautiful touch for plants and natural landscapes. With insperations from New York Central park co designed by Frederich Law Olmsted. Along with Japanese garden design.

Finished Dry Laid Stone wall 34' long x 24" height (average) Butler stone, Red Sand Stone, PA Blue Stone and Historic Cockeysville Marble Stone. Double sided on both ends. Flat cap stones with one large blue local stone for seat. Two vertical stones one on right will be the entrance.

 Four stones act as steps to large stone. Two stones to right had been placed. The other lower two by large stone uncovered.

Wall head 18" height.

 Large local blue stone for seat.

You can not see the beauty of the large Shang shí dŭ yuè  - "Rock upon which to gaze at the moon."

Small wall head reworked after placing original red sand stone. This will be the entrance by walking along curved wall down four steps to Shang shí dŭ yuè Rock. Were you can now site on the large local blue stone to gaze at the moon. 

Project finish date 8/1/11
Thank you V.S. for the opportunity to work around your Shang shí dŭ yuè Rock


  1. Structural and beautiful. Well done Mark, this ticks all the boxes. T

  2. Thank you Tracey-coming from a Dry Stone mason at your level of skill, I'm honored to have your feedback. One stone at a time. I head to Kentucky Oct to test for my Journeyman with DSC.