Dry Laid Stone

Dry laid stone construction is a craft and an art form.  Many farmers when they first moved to America used stone for walls to clear their fields for crops. Stacking the stones around their property to help indicate property lines. Sometimes even to keep livestock in. You may find examples of walls all over the US. In Kentucky you will see 4 foot walls with beautiful stone tops. In New York State and New England you will find field stones piled up one on top of the other. Dry stack is nothing new. It has been around for decades. Many people wonder if I use cement or glues. The truth is no. I often like to refer to the Broch in Scotland which have stood all wraths of mother nature and still standing today all based on gravity. The benefits of dry stack stone is that it is a flexible system. The earth moves up and down with the seasons. Winters push and heave the earth up. Ever wonder why new stones pop up in your yard every year? If not, farmers find them all the time. Mother nature is pushing the stone to the top all with frost. A dry stack stone work can also be recycled- moved or torn down. A wall with cement must be demolished and hauled off if you decide you don’t like it anymore. It also doesn't move or flex this is why too often you see cracks in cement wall or walkways. Mother nature can be hard on man made objects.

Working with natural stone creates value. Many products such as pavers do have a place and may do the job. But nothing says natural more than real stone from the earth. Creating a beauty for life. Lasting a lifetime.  Dry laid stone is an craft which does require a specific know how following key rules to do the job right. Dry laid stone masonry maybe made up of a variety of different topics, structures, decorative walls, retaining walls, patios, bridges, foundations, estate walls, art, sculptures, and so much more. 

Mark Jurus - Rockin Walls - 8/2016 Hopewell Furnace National Park, Instructor/ Dry Stone Project Coordinator for HPTC - National Park Service

2022-2024 Project Images Coming Soon!

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Project details: White Hall MD, Start Oct 7, 2021-Jan 27, 2022, Field stone dry laid stone retaining walls. All stone from property, back wall stone mixed with local stone. Lower retaining wall 24' l x 30" h 2 wall heads, Upper retaining wall 28' l x 5' h staggered tie stones. 2 wall heads. Both walls have a 1:6 batter.Pattern Course with random jumpers and large flat cap stones.

Patio 400SF, 30' l x 13'.5" w, Colonial bluestone sheet stock 2"-4" thick, custom cut pattern on site with large joints bedded on #8 3/8th washed limestone gravel.
Steps 6' l x 7" rise x 14"+ treads all stones from property
Boulder art, All natural boulders set for plantings at end of wall into bank.
Colonial bluestone steps, cut (feather and wedged) from left over extra patio stones.


Sept 2021 New Windsor Maryland, Low Voltage Landscape Lighting, Colonial Bluestone 450+ SQ FT Patio, Seating wall built with mix Mountain, Tuscarora and bluestone, with custom cut colonial bluestone flat caps. Gravel pathway with granite and metal edging.

Whitemarsh Maryland, Boulder retaining wall with large construction site waste.

Small flower bed

Cockeysville Maryland, 550+ SQ FT Colonial bluestone patio, 2 custom steps 5' long, Seating wall 12' long 2' high build with mountain stone and colonial bluestone caps. 


Upperco MD Bluestone Stepping Path stones with landing, Low Voltage Landscape Lighting 11 lights.

Belair Maryland, Lenhoffs Retail Center landscape supplies. Sample walls

PA Fieldstone

Colonial Bluestone

West mountain / Laurel Mountain Stone

West Virginia Stone 

White Hall Maryland, 3 large boulders cut flush and set. Included each with flower bed walls. Stone from the site




Cutting and shaping bottoms of boulders to sit flat

White Hall MD Boulders & Flower beds 12/2020 - 1/2021

Providence PA, Rebuild retaining wall hit by car.

PA Retaining Wall Rebuild 11/2020

 Upperco Maryland, Colonial bluestone walk path and patio landing. Including all grading of area.

Walkway Bluestone steppers & Grass 10/2020

Upperco same site. Colonial bluestone parking pad.

FALL 2020- Upperco MD
GO BIG OR PARK SOMEPLACE ELSE. Room to spare! 21'.5" x 22'.5" / 518 sqft jumbo colonial bluestone parking pad. Stones from 3" + thick, custom pattern built with 2'x 2' all the way to 37"x 37" ‐ 8 to be exact! YIKES. Thank God I own a Ditch Witch SK850 plus =1050. Who said Biggers not better?
Stone supplied by & from Nick Balducci Quarry in NY. For his sister and brother in-laws estate in Upperco MD.
67 hours parking pad build including excavating, low voltage lighting sleeves, drainage pipes and grading.



Low Voltage Landscape Lighting by Rockin Walls

Low voltage lighting Design & Installation by Mark Jurus ~ Rockin Walls

500 SQFT lower bluestone patio.

Custom Bluestone patio upper.

Summer 2020- Westminster MD - Huss Project

9.18.2020 Westminster Hardscape FINISHED!
Hard to believe the time has come to move on to the next project this week has already been crazy! More to come. Richard Client had prices out sentimental blocks and pavers. I offered him a one of a kind option with curves. Something which you truly could never pull off with man made blocks of concrete. Natural stone will never go out of style. The next goal was to match and connect to his pond. Most importantly give more room when you walked off of his porch. The top patio was only going to be 100 SQFT. Once the steps went in I suggested we do a change order and make it bigger maximize the space. I truly like to let the space and stone speak to me. I go into each build with a basic design. Rarely do I ever stick to it. Most landscape company's will come up with a design send in a crew and build only what is on paper. This doesn't really allow some one the chance to be apart and to connect to the space. As I build I'm always listening to the stone and mother nature.
Project details - Start Date 5.8.2020 - 9.18.2020 about 4 months build time.
- Demo all pavers, timbers, and excavate
Stone: Walls- mixed Tuscarora & Mountain stone PA
Steps / Patio: Colonial Bluestone
- 93.5 Linear feet of wall, lower walls 27" high from patio. On average other walls are give or take 2' high. With Monster, medium and small flat caps.
- 9 steps 4' wide x 7" rise with 16"-22" treads Bluestone made up of 36+ stones.
- 5 Boulders
- Lower patio 474 SQFT Bluestone Squares and Recs, 5 "G" pattern kits. Largest pattern available with sizes up to 3'x3'. 25 Black Jumbo cobble stones for edging.
- Upper Patio 260 SQFT Custom cut on-site pattern made of sheet stock with stones as thick as 3" and as large as 4' + 14 Black Jumbo cobble stones for edging.
- Drainage pipes installed threw out the project and under steps out wall.
- Plastic conduit on every step, threw out walls and under patios with 4 main feeds and many small feeds for low voltage lighting.
- Regrading full backyard
- Auger 3 tree holes 36" Wide
- Begin first phase of Low Voltage lighting.
- Equipment on-site: Ditch Witch SK850PLUS, Mini Excavator and 65 ton splitting force Stone Splitter.
ALL WORK PERFORMED BY ME and my helper Ditch Witch....EXCEPT: Richard Client handled tarring foundation, removing tar from foundation, pond stone rebuild, small planting and removal, river jack placement. Lower outside electrical outlet for low voltage transformer - Electrician.

Spring 2020- New Freedom PA, Small garden bed dry laid stone beds with a mix of Blue stone and Laurel Mountain. In addition yellow jumbo granite cobbles stones as a alternative edging.


3/2020 Arbutus MD, Boulder Walls, Black Granite boulders placed randomly mixed with Marriottsville Stone. Creating a earth bank mixed with sitting boulders along with planters and a location for a waterfall to cascade down the earth mound and across the future blue stone patio fire pit gathering space. 

Winter 2/2020 Mason & Dixon replica mile marker #45 @ Maryland Line
New Construction replacing cinder block wall. Client - Maryland Society of Surveyors. Mountaintop Stone from PA. Traditional style 4' H freestanding by 16' L with tie stones placed every 3 feet on center and vertical coping stones, below grade protruding foundation along with a 1:6 wall batter. 

July - Sept 2019 Upperco Maryland
Upperco MD - Gorsuch Mill Road and Falls Road Historic 1870 home. New - Old winding curve retaining wall 3' H by 110’ L.  Walling with all local stone from the site. Repurposed barn foundation along with existing walls and stone dug out during excavating. 32 tie stones, 1:6 batter, below grade protruding foundation 3’ W, 4 rebuilt step stiles only second step was replaced due to damage set in the same exact order moved closer to walk out the back door. Capstones 21” L wall built from old wall sections believed to be dated 1947 - Failed due to single sided - long faces (tracer) from step stiles left all old wall from about 10 ft to right of step stiles all new construction. All stone from on site, repurposed barn foundation, stone dug out from excavating, and original walls. Estimated 46 tons of stone. Dominantly a flat bedded schist stone.


Sept 2018 - June 2019 Myersville Retaining Walls / Patio System

Click YouTube Video

Sept 2018 - June 2019
2019 March, Myersville Straw Bale home, 2 of 3 retaining walls 4 ft + including several large local boulders from the property. 1:6 batter wall, flat caps, stainless steel railing rods built into wall 3 courses down, all tie stones plumbed with electrical pipes for future Low Voltage Led lighting. Protruding foundation below grade. Small planter built 3' x 30" at end of wall by house for above vine trellis system. Dollar store pool noodles just for the fun of it. To protect the stainless steel all thread rods which the home builder will be installing 3' Locust logs for post from property. Stainless steel rods to be installed 4" spacing for code and to tie in with upper vine trellis system. 7 custom cut onsite - feather wedge faces curved steps 7" rise w/ 16" tread 30 stones cut to fit singles with some double stacked. Railing rods also installed. Wall built on steps. Boulders built out from home including bridging of 2 french drains and 1 out of wall lintel. Wall to be built behind this patio 5' tall for upper patio to back door as seen on background.

All Patios are Core Gravel Mat 38-18 with 1/2" Pea Tan Gravel

Myersville March 2019


2018 Ellicott City MD, 680+ Sq Ft Natural Cleft Bluestone Patio w/ 3 beautiful tiered steps, lined with jumbo yellow granite cobbles - Backyard makeover.

June 2018 Westminster MD

June 2018 Westminster Maryland, Limestone Barn foundation reclaimed by client. Freestanding wall, Seating Wall, Water drain Arch, boulders set at end and middle of curve. 

Patio - Each stone was custom cut to fit, pattern built on-site 2-3" thick Colonial Bluestone Sheet stock.

11/2017 - 4/2018 Monkton Maryland, This project was Built for Nick Balducci who owns 2 Bluestone Quarries in NY. This Backyard makeover highlight all his stone except the granite cobbles and aggregated. Patio, Walkway, Seating walls, Fire pit area. 

Patio 14'L x 24' W bluestone sheet stock (2"-4" Thick) bedded on 4" -/+ of 3/8th single washed aggregate ( called #8 in our region) Seating walls 23"-24" H with flat caps ranging from 2"- 4"H, Front aggregate walkway and fire pit area 24' circle filled with 3/4" limestone aggregate (called #57 in our region) with Jumbo Granite Cobbles 7" H x 10" L x 3.5" W +/- for all the edging. The fire pit are also has a BRAND New Product Bluestone Edging ranging from 7"H x 24" -/+ with many more options coming. The treads are Natural Cleft tops with Thermal faces 6' L from house then 5' L going to upper grass landing. Specs: 18" W set at 16" +/- walk Tread, 7" +/- Rise.


2018 April, Hampstead MD, Test Feature, DSWA 3A - Pass, DSC Level 2 Pass. Curved freestanding wall, West mountain stone. 54" tall with below grade protruding foundation, 1:8 batter, shaped vertical cope stones. 

2018 April, Hampstead MD, Test Feature, DSWA 3A - Pass, DSC Level 2 Pass. Sloped freestanding wall, West mountain stone. 54" tall with below grade protruding foundation, 1:6 batter, shaped vertical cope stones with cover bands. 

2018 April Butler Stone Quarry, Boulder Retaining wall. Each boulder weights 1000-3000 pounds. Double wall system.

11/2017  Part 2 Cockeysville Maryland, Happy Hollow, Retaining Wall built with West Mountain Sandstone. 26' long from 2'-5' tall, w/protruding below grade foundation. 1:6 batter with vertical column by house corner. Staggered tie stones set at 18" spaced every 3' on center 17.5 day build

11/2017 Part 1 Cockeysville Maryland, Happy Hollow.  - Makeover of 36' long of lower dry laid natural stone walkway to house with seven steps. The stone of choice being native to our region Balducci Colonial Bluestone. Details: Steps 5' long 18" tread with 7" rise natural cleft tops with thermal faces. The 5' wide walkway was mixed with some of the old thicker Western Maryland Red and newly added Colonial Bluestone sheet stock.

July/August 2017, Sparks - Glencoe, Blue Stone path makeover / resetting, New Blue stone steps to doors with patio landing and granite cobble stones. 

June/July 2017, Mount Airy  - Tuscarora Mountain Stone PA(exclusive) New Retaining Wall


May/June 2017,  Falls Rd - Cockeysville MD, Prettyboy Schist with local stone, Retaining Wall, Blue Mount #57 gravel walkway.

March/April 2017, Woodbine MD, Makeover calibration w/Andy McEvoy.  Butler - Merrittville Stone, w/ PA Bluestone Flagstone, Bluestone steppers and edging, repurposed brick edging, Patio, Steps, Retaining Wall.

11/2016 White Hall MD West Mountain Retaining Wall, Steppers / Landing

11/2016 Towson MD, Third Rebuild of Fire Pit - PA Blue Stone Snapped stone to uneven sizes with chiseled faces,Thermal top granite stones on corners.

10/2016 Towson MD, Rebuilt Fire Pit - West Mountain Snapped stone to uniformed size. 

7/2014 Towson MD, Originally built Fire Pit - 5/2016 Custom Stainless Steel Liner designed and fabricated, cook grill with open spots for rotisserie cooker.

10/2016 Rock Creek NPS @ Pierce Mills Park DC 1 day event, min wall

9/2016 Roland Park MD, Rebuild and replace 20 ft section of wall damaged by tree.

7/2016 Dryhouse Stoneworks PA, State College, palletizing mountain stone for Canada project

5/2016 1 Day Instructing Pre-Test Workshop w/Seth Harris @ The Stone Trust VT

Fall 2016 2 Day Instructing Freestanding Wall Workshop w/Michael Murphy @ The Stone Trust VT

5/2016 Mount Airy MD, Marriottsville stone, Freestanding 3ft wall with PA Blue stone ties.

5/2016 Felton PA, West Mountain Stone - Seating / Retaining Wall, 3 Steps, and Aggregate Path.

4/2016 Millers Maryland, Millers Station Spring House Foundation. Butler Stone mixed with West Mountain and Balducci Blue Stone. Dry laid stone construction 4'-5' H x 42' L total.  Click Here to see more. 

8 ~ 10/2015 Mount Airy MD

8 ~ 10/2015 Backyard makeover. Mount Airy, 15 - 5' W x 18" (set at 16") thread x 6" rise PA colonial blue stone steps, flatwork with squares & recs w/ hand cut granite edging. West Mountain stone mixed with old barn foundation from previous 2014 wall. The client uses there back door only. They had no steps to allow them to come and go comfortable The lower space was created when the homeowner took on building a brick pizza oven. I suggested a sitting wall along with the other flower bed walls.  

I did not build the pizza oven. I did do the natural stone veneer (made on site) on the ledge and the base of the oven. This was not dry laid but set in mortar on top of cinder block built by the client. 

7/2015 Havre De Grace dry laid stone seating walls. West mountain, PA colonial blue, on site black granite boulder. Havre De Grace Click Here to see more. 

6/23/2015 Greystone Road, White Hall Maryland.  PA colonial blue stone treads 7 saw cut thermal 4' wide x 6" rise x 18" thread set at with slight curve 16" left -14" right. Blue Mount #2 aggregate on left side with grade change in order to redirect water from flowing down towards white steps.

5/10/2015 Wiseburg Road, White Hall Maryland. Dry laid stone retaining wall West Mountain. 52' long x 26"- 30" high with 4 steps in middle upper and lower landing and 1 wall head. Click here see more.

11/2014 Greystone Road, White Hall Maryland. 208' SQ FF ++, 52' FF = 45' Long Dry Laid stone retaining wall, 7' Long Free Standing wall with steps connected. 4'.6" wide steps. 4' high dry laid stone retaining wall. PA colonial blue flat cap 2' w x 3' l x 3.5" thick, Steps, tie stones placed 21" up set on center 3' ft. 60% West Mountain, 30% PA Blue Stone, 5% Western MD stone, 5% other. Back wall stone reclaimed barn foundations mixed with above stone. Protruding foundation set at grade level using primarily West Mountain stone from the Scranton area. Total build time 30 days including excavation of old railroad ties retaining wall and finish grade.

Greystone Road, White Hall Maryland. 7 PA colonial blue steps, 6.5" rise x 18" tread x 4'.6" wide

September 8th-15th 2014 I built this upper front section above tie stone both front and back. I volunteered my time for a week with 22 other dry laid stone masons from Canada, USA and UK. To build the 4th building and largest new building in North America. This amazing event took place at the Stone Festival at Willowbank School of Restoration Arts. Directed by Canada's only DSWA Master Craftsman Dean McLellan. 9/2014 Willowbank, Niagara Parkway, Queenston, Ontario, Canada. Quarried bulk limestone. 

Left side of doorway - above middle tie is my section.

8/2014 White Hall MD, PA Field stone retaining wall 16' L x 17-25" H. 

7/2014 Monrovia (Mt Airy) Maryland, Dry Laid Stone retaining wall/ free standing with 2 lintel water drains 18" W PA Colonial Blue Square caps x 30' L x 3'-4' H (105 SQ FT) with 7 tie stones placed at 18" above grade. 1/6 batter, PA white sandstone from barn foundation, Western Maryland Stone, PA Blue stone and South Bay Quartz White stone to help match clients purchased stone. 15 days total project time including drive time to job, moving material on site....

7/2014 Providence Road Towson Maryland, Square Dry Laid Stone Fire Pit 5' W x 7' L x 16" H with black granite cobble stones, 4 reclaimed black granite corners stones, Main building stone (same as house) North Carolina Thin Stone, Chocolate Grey and Midnight Blue. 8.5" Vertical cope stones.

6/2014 Forest Hill Maryland, Retaining wall 50' L x 15"-30" H, PA fieldstone.

5/2014 Hampstead Maryland, 26' L x 15"-26" H Retaining wall, Butler stone, reclaimed PA field stone, PA Blue stone, 10 PA Blue stone cap stones 23" W x 32' L x 2" H.

4/2014 Upper Field Court, Kingsville MD PA Bluestone squares and rectangles with hand shaped granite edging, patio 6'.8"' W x 9' L

PA Field Stone mixed with old wall stone dry laid stone retaining wall  22' L x 20" H w/ two set in earth stepping stones off patio.

3/2014 Balducci Stoneyard PA.  PA Bluestone Retaining Wall  
58' long x 12" - 24" +/- high x 2' wide dry laid stone wall built level around office on site, 3 corners, 4 ends, one large step shaped to fit on site, 20.5" - 23" wide x 2" thick cap stones. Blue stone supplied by client from their quarries.


11/2013 Edgewood Road, Ellicott City, MD  115' L x 3' H Retaining wall, 4 Stone benches, 1 fire pit 7' W x 14" H, 4 shelves, 3 vertical stones, 5 PA Blue Stone Steps, 3 stone niche's.  New build, Ellicott City Granite stone found in customer's back yard (ya no kidding thats a lot of stone!). 

10/2013 St John Road, Roland Park, Baltimore MD. 45' L x 28" H Retaining wall same design as original, Old wall stone - Unknown, Butler MD Stone, Laurel Mountain/PA Fieldstone mixed. Click here for Project

Pond/waterfall -  6' L x 3' W x 16" deep, 1200 GPH Danner pump w/ 11" waterfall box. PA bluestone cap on waterfall box. 

8/2013 Hoffmanville Road, Millers MD. 44' L x 4' W, Western MD Stone, Laurel Mountain Stone, PA Lilac/field Stone, and 6" Granite Edge.

7/2013 Warren Road, Cockeysville MD. 35' L x 25" H Retaining/Sitting Wall. Local stone on site mixed with 1" Butler Stone from Vinci Quarry. 

7/2013 Alesia Road, Millers MD. 4'.5" H x 10' L Retaining Wall, Prettyboy Field Stone with old foundation stone for corner. (gathered from our farm) Dry laid stone wall tied into existing mortared wall.

6/2013 Merrymans Mill Road, Phoenix MD.  2-3' H x 12' L Arch Wall, 4 sided column 3' H, Prettyboy Fieldstone (gathered from our farm).

Round Hill Road, Frederick VS Arch Finished Project 2013
Round Hill Road, Frederick VS - Starburst Arch Story 2013
5/2013 Western Maryland Stone used for starburst - roman arch (semi circle). Colonial PA Lilac stone used for 3' h x 9'.5" l wall with flat caps sitting on 12" h base. 

11/2012 Merrymount Roland Park, Finished Project80' l x 20" h retaining wall with curve, corner, cheech end, 3 steps and lintel. Built with Western Maryland sandstone and PA blue stone. (front)

11/2012 Merrymount - Roland Park MD, Project Story BLOG

Stone WURX, International Festival Sept 2012, hosted by Ground Effects Landscapes, Project manager Dean McLellan professional waller, Hanover Ontario Canada. A first of its kind Dry Laid stone stable structure 40' l x 20' w x 7'.5" h  to be built in North America within 100 years. This structure also includes a living roof. I was fortunate enough to participate on this build alongside 12 other professional stonemasons from UK, Canada and USA
8/2012 Beechdale Road, Roland Park MD, Finished Project BLOG

8/2012 Beechdale Road, Dry Stone Project Story BLOG

5/2012 Glenville, PA. Dry Laid Retaining Wall, Fieldstone on site. 
Finished Project -BLOG 

Project Story Images - BLOG

4/2102 Appaloosa Way, Finksburg MD, Brick Walkway w/ 6" granite edge.  Finished Project BLOG


Warren Road, Cockeysville MD 11/11

10' l x 4' h freestanding wall - lime stone timed test rebuild in 8 hours -PASS

Shang shí dŭ yuè Project Story BLOG Frederick Maryland 8/1/11. Retaining wall 34 Ft Length x 2 Ft high average, one large seating stone, 2 steps added in one in wall. Butler stone with local blended in.

Project Story BLOG Butler stone retaining wall 5'5" high x 22 long Millers, MD.

5/21/11 PA Blue stone patio re-lay stones after 10 years of settling, Timonium Maryland

DSWA Cheekend Level 2 Test Vermont at Stone Trust.

April 30th 2011 Test Wall strip out and rebuild in 7 hours double sided 5 ft high by 5 ft long with wall head. PASSED time test! DSWA
Testing held in Vermont at Stone Trust - Examiners Dan SnowMichael Weitzner

"INTERMEDIATE CERTIFICATE HOLDER: have demonstrated their ability to construct a sound, free-standing dry stone wall which includes a cheekend" (wall head).


Free Standing Wall 4ft high, Hampstead MD, Spring 2009, Butler Stone, 

Free Standing Wall 4ft high, Hampstead MD, spring 2009, Butler Stone,

Fire Pit, Inspired by Dan Snow, Millers MD, June 2009, PA Blue stone

FLATWORK: Walk 22x4 ft walk, Cockeysville MD, April 2008, PA Blue stone

FLATWORK: Patio w/ wall, Belair MD, June 2007, PA Blue stone.