Sunday, June 23, 2013

Round Hill Road, Frederick VS Arch Project Story, 2013

The start of a beautiful day and a new green pallet to build on.  An 80 ft long x 1 ft high wall, 4 bench's, 6 vertical stones, 3 ft high x 9.5 ft long wall with 30" l x 19" h arch. Stone used on this project was a mix of PA Blue/lilac, Butler stone,  Glenville PA, and Western Maryland. Time to build 30 days. 

The plan sketched by the client. I added some of the titles just in order to explain some of the sections in the pictures below. Such as the snake or candy cane. 

VS Copyright 2013
This section about is the candy cane, the larger stones sticking up illustrate quartz stones from the property to be placed into the wall. 

Excavating the top sod off to earth for the setting foundations stone. Candy cane section.

Staging of all matterail. Brought in all the big boys - mini excavator to dig, skid loader to move stone around and remove a pile of dirt.

Little mantis tiller gets down and dirty. This helps me loosen up the dirt making it quicker to hand dig out. Great when you have a lot of small rocks in the way. 

Set string lines begin my foundation stones set on earth 3-4 inches below grade. 

Just about finished candy cane section.

In this image I'm using the folding 3-4-5 A square set on the string line to help me set my lines for the box stone foundation for the arch. 

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Begin to build the platform for the arch to sit one. 

A large stone is set in the middle of where the arch will be built to help guide your eye threw the space and back to the vertical quartz. All of the foundation is built at this point. 

Top of the platform 12" high at front. I'm now setting large flat cap stones to finish this section off.

Just about finished platform.

I begin to build up wall section called snake. 

Since the wall goes up hill I continue to set my stones level. I set my cribbing for the arch to just get an idea of placement on the platform.

Cribbing for arch set center on top of large stone. This will be the front side of the arch.

Setting bench at end of snake with Toro Dingo.

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Stone bench built center in front of arch to be.

Wall frames up for 3' h x 9'.5" l wall with arch. The start of the build with PA Lilac stone. In the back at the end of the snake wall you can see the bench set with the dingo.

Side - back view of arch.

Back side of arch. This section will be filled with dirt to the top of platform in back.

 Built in 2011 this section of wall sits directly in front of the new arch wall project. 

Front of finished Arch with Western Maryland Stone along with PA Lilac to build the wall.

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 Side view. Great view of the flat caps on wall section.

Finishing up with cap stones on snake section to bench.

Snake section all finished along with filling dirt on back side of platform and snake wall section.

Now headed towards 3 vertical standing stones at entrance.

Cap stones now finished on this section.

Now building from 3 vertical stones back candy cane section placing quartz into wall build strategically centered in wall section. 

Placing cap stones and building wall section level stepped stones going up hill. Buckets hold my small stones called packing to be placed in the middle of wall. 

Last day of walling in the rain. I just put the pedal down a pushed threw to make in the last day of walling. Finishing up the last of the cap stones on the candy cane section with the quartz. 

Notice my small wall frames. Some might find wall frames over kill for only a 1' high wall. I like to use  them for any size wall. They keeps me on track allowing ME to wall quicker.

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How - To Wall Frames

Last of the flat caps set on candy cane section. Weed cloth set behind arch for client to place small stones on top. I then placed dirt behind walls for additional plantings.  Straw was put down to help keep earth from washing out. Next it was time to clean up the site moving all the pallets of stone with Dingo. This was the first job I really use the dingo on. I really enjoyed the ability to be able to move stone around easily by my self. Also using a track machine kept me at 95% No Damage to the grass/soil. The biggest benefit was just how small this machine is making it easy to just locked up at the end of the day. 

Frederick is a bit of a stretch for me to drive. I had worked with this client back in 2011 building a wall around a beautiful flat rock that laid below the earth. When I was invited back I didn't hesitate to say YES. I really enjoyed his consideration to the space, use of colors, time of day or season of light. More importantly just how easy it was for me to understand his vision and work with him. 

How could I say NO?!  Well worth the 100 mile - 2 hours drive per day! 

Thank you VS for allowing to be apart of your creation.


  1. Lovely blog Mark . I'm really enjoying your work. So inspiring, as a builder myself I appreciate all the references to tools, use of different frames, setting out problems and the decent photography. Thanks a million. I'm in the u.k and waiting impatiently for a beginners course in the spring. I contacted Tracey Blackwell to offer my labour for free but she is not working till march .oh well, blogs like yours help me in the meantime
    Regards Alf.

    1. Hello Alfred, Your so lucky to have all the UK folks to work with in your back Yard. Lucky Guy! Thank you for the comments on my blog topics. I like to write about things I would like to read or I've learned. I hope to help others save a few steps. I also do a lot of photos for those who might not want to read that much. Tracey is one amazing waller with such a great work ethic - very dedicated to the craft. That was a great offer to assist. You learn so much working with others. Thank you again for your comments and following my blog. Look forward to hearing about your journey with stone.