Course Level: Fundamentals

Fundamentals of Walling

#CourseDaysPrerequisite Description
2.10Historic Wall Rebuild3NoneStudents will rebuild a long-neglected farm wall. You will learn site preparation, pre-build staging, setup and use of batter frames, and wall construction. The product of the workshop will be a free-standing wall.
2.13Contractors Intro Workshop1NoneThis one day course is tailored to the hardscape professional. The student will learn the key walling concepts and will build a free standing wall. Similar to 1.11 but caters to the needs of landscapers and masons.
2.20Retaining Walls1Any 1.xx or 2.10 or 2.13This one-day workshop teaches the fundamentals of retaining walls. The student will sort and stage stone for the build, assist in batter frame setup, and will build a retaining wall.
2.40Cheek Rebuild2Any 1.xx or 2.10 or 2.13Each student in this two-day workshop will rebuild the a wall cheek (free standing vertical wall end). You will learn to grade and sort stone in preparation for a build. You will set up batter frames and string lines. This course is intended as a first hands-on exposure to building a square end to a wall. This fundamental skill will be leveraged in many features you might build in the future.
2.50Introduction to Stone Shaping1Any 1.xx or 2.10 or 2.13Try your hand and shaping stones with hammers, chisels, and power tools too! Learn techniques and methods for efficiently getting stones to break where you want them too.
2.60Contractors Intensive5NoneThis course is intended to provide hardscape professionals with working fundamental skills for dry stone walling. The student will learn proper use of batter frames and stringlines, site and material preparation, and wall construction. They will rebuild a free standing wall, and will then rebuild a cheek. This course includes a Level 1 certification test on the last day.
2.70Walling Day1Any 1.xx or 2.10 or 2.13Low cost opportunity for those with workshop experience to gain walling experience with certified professions on site.
2.80Level 1 Test Preparation1Any 2.xx or 1.xxThe student will rebuild a Level 1 test stint against the clock. An instructor will answer questions and provide feedback at multiple points during the day. The purpose of this course is to help the student develop strategies for building within the test time limit while constructing a passing wall.
2.90Level 1 Certification Test1Any 2.xx, 2.80 recommendedThe successful tester will have walled for at least five days and will be able to recite the five rules.


The art of foundations, through-stones and copes are combined with experiential learning to craft retaining walls, free standing wall ends, and to rebuild historic farm walls in this series of courses.

Historic Rebuild workshop students will participate in the site preparation necessary to rebuild old dilapidated walls.  The Retaining and Cheek Rebuild workshops develop skills needed for the majority of walling projects.  In each of these you will learn batter frame techniques that lead to a stronger and more beautiful wall.

A new offering for 2019 is the Contractors Intensive.  This five day offering in the Winter is conducted inside.  The intent is to transform practicing landscapers into certified wallers.   The Contractors Intro workshop is also a great way for the hardscape professional to start down the dry stone path.

Level 1 Certification is a great way to benchmark your progress.  Testing makes you a better waller!

All workshops are taught by instructors that are certified by the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DSWA-GB)

One summer day, while I was walking along the country road on the farm where I was born, a section of the stone wall opposite me, and not more than three or four yards distant, suddenly fell down. Amid the general stillness and immobility about me the effect was quite startling. … It was the sudden summing up of half a century or more of atomic changes in the material of the wall. A grain or two of sand yielded to the pressure of long years, and gravity did the rest.
~John Burroughs

More About Dry Stone Fundamentals Courses

2.10 Historic Wall Rebuild Workshop

This workshop covers much of the same material as 1.10. However the two day format allows for more hands on time for every student. In addition to basic principles, basic stone shaping will be introduced. Typical cost is $475.

2.13 Contractor’s Introduction to Dry Stone Walling

This 1-day workshop is perfect for the homeowner or enthusiast looking to start learning about how to build dry stone walls. It’s also a great introduction for landscapers who are looking to get into dry stone walling. Typical cost is $275.

2.20 Retaining Wall Workshop

When building dry stone retaining walls the focus always needs to be on structure. This course adds to the basic principles in the prerequisite courses. Participants will learn how to maximize strength for a retaining wall while following the basic rules. Foundations, drainage, perforated pipe, filter fabric, geo-textiles and more are all discussed or demonstrated. Typical cost: $295.

2.40 Cheek End Workshop

Cheek ends are particularly tricky to build well, and this workshop will give participants first hand experience. Working as a partner with another participant, each pair will dismantle and rebuild a cheek end on a freestanding wall about 54″ tall. Typical cost is $495.

2.50 Introduction to Stone Shaping Workshop

This workshop will spend the day learning about how to shape stones for use in dry stone walls. Participants will be introduced to a variety of stone types, and how to work with them. Both hand and power tools will be demonstrated and used. Typical cost: $325.

2.60 Contractor’s Intensive Workshop

This workshop includes 4 days of training and the DSWA-GB Level I (Initial) certification test on the final day.

The workshop will focus on the fundamental knowledge needed by professionals to build dry stone walls successfully and efficiently. Typical cost: $1250.

2.70 Walling Day Workshop

This 1-day workshop is perfect for the homeowner or enthusiast looking to start learning about how to build dry stone walls. It’s also a great introduction for landscapers who are looking to get into dry stone walling. Typical cost is $275.

2.80 Level 1 Test Preparation Workshop

Prepare for your certification test! This workshop is perfect those planning to test. Learn tips and techniques to help you pass your test. There is nothing better to prepare! This workshop differs from typical workshops… Typical cost is $210.

2.90 Level 1 Certification Test

This 1-day workshop is perfect for the homeowner or enthusiast looking to start learning about how to build dry stone walls. It’s also a great introduction for landscapers who are looking to get into dry stone walling. Typical cost is $275.

Upcoming Dry Stone Fundamentals Course

(By date, soonest first)

  • Fall Certification Test: Friday, 9/20/2019, Dummerston
    September 20, 2019
    8:15 am - 6:30 pm
    - 1 Day attendance

Testing Levels Initial, Intermediate and Advanced (Part B). Friday, May 3, 2019. NOTE: You must hold the previous level certification to sign up for any test above level 1. THE REGISTRATION DEADLINE has been exended till, August 14th! NO LATE REGISTRATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED.