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2.13 Contractor’s Introduction to Dry Stone Walling

2.13 Contractors Introductory Workshop Overview:

This workshop is intended for the landscaper, mason, or builder looking to build dry stone walls.  Similar to 1.10, this workshop will be taught by highly experienced professional wallers with Advanced or Master Craftsman certification.  The hands on building portion of the workshop is a little faster paced, making room for discussions about pricing and business strategies, equipment, and other contractor related topics. This workshop is suited to beginners and those with previous stone working experience.

Over the course of the day each participant will build about 25 sq. ft. of wall (one side).   Participants will learn all the basic rules of structural dry stone walling that can be applied to any type of stone and project.

This workshop will feature hands on experience with a free standing wall, like those traditionally used as livestock fences and property boundaries.   The information learned is directly applicable to all types of dry stone walls, including retaining walls, seat walls, and more.

Certified DSWA-GB Instructors will guide participants through the process of building a dry stone wall.  There will be no more than 8 students per instructor, so there is plenty of direct interaction with the instructors.  Most workshops have 2 instructors with up to 16 participants.


The day will begin with a brief introductory discussion.  Participants will select their area to work, and start by dismantling the existing wall.  During this process, stone sorting techniques will be taught, and correct and incorrect aspects of the existing wall will be discussed.  Once the walls are dismantled, the foundation will be discussed and prepared, and the all important string-line guides will be introduced.  Participants will then be guided through placing foundation stones, and beginning to build the wall.  Principles of walling are discussed, demonstrated, and practiced as the 1st few courses are built by the participants.

During lunch, participants will have the opportunity to ask the instructors questions about their own projects, and purchase a wide variety of tools, books and other supplies.

After lunch, building will continue.  Throughstones will be introduced, discussed, and placed.  The 2nd lift of the wall will be built, and participants will learn some techniques for handling smaller stones.  Cope stones will be introduced and placed on the wall.  The day will finish with brief clean up and review of the wall(s) built that day.

Throughout the day discussions relevant to contractors will be interspersed in the active walling.  Contract and pricing strategies will be included, as will the use of equipment, drainage and foundations.

A brief guided tour of the other walls and stone features at the location where the workshop is taught is also a common part of the workshop.

At the end of the workshop participants will receive a certificate of workshop completion,  t-shirt, and a packet full of walling information.

Critical Information:

  • The workshop will run 9:00am-5:00pm with 1/2 hour lunch break.
  • Participants should wear boots and work clothes (have plenty of layers for cool weather)
  • What to bring:  gloves, safety glasses, water, and lunch.  (There is no where close enough to buy lunch with in the lunch break)
  • All tools needed are provided.

Detailed info will be emailed to you once you register including what to bring and directions.

Licensed Landscape Architects can receive 7.5 LA CES credits for participating in this workshop.

Experienced hardscape contractors share their 2.13 workshop experience:

Landscape Architects receive 7.5 credit hours for taking this workshop through the LA CES system.

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