2.20 Retaining Wall Workshop – Vermont
Apply the principles and methods for building a structurally sound dry stone wall to building a retaining wall. Learn the fundamentals of retaining walls; did you know they are also double-faced? Sort and stage stone for the build, assist in batter frame setup, and build a retaining wall.
To extend the basic principles of dry stone walling to retaining wall construction.
Come learn how to apply the knowledge you gleaned from an introductory workshop to building a retaining wall. Here you focus on structure to maximize strength for a retaining wall that will last for generations. While all the principals of a free standing wall apply, you face additional considerations when building retaining walls.
As in an introductory workshop, you start by evaluating the structure of an existing retaining wall before stripping out and sorting the stone. With your classmates, you will deconstruct and rebuild an existing wall built to Dry Stone Walling Association certification test specifications. Taking apart a wall allows you to understand its structure and the methods used to build it.
As you dismantle the wall, together you examine and discuss the characteristics of the retained earth/gravel bank and the issues that various soil types may present. Begin the rebuild with a focus on establishing a solid foundation. Here is where you address questions related to excavation and drainage. Next, set batter frames and stringlines and continue to practice and improve your skill at building level courses and an even wall face. Extend your understanding of how throughstones promote a durable structure. Backfill the wall carefully and thoroughly into the bank.
Whether you are a homeowner or a professional, by day’s end you can expect to have learned enough to make wise decisions on your own projects. You can apply what you learned directly to all types dry stone retaining walls, from seat walls, to excavator set boulder walls.
The variety of stone you work with depends on the geology of the training site where you have come to learn. In the Northeast and Upper Midwest, you are likely to encounter round field stone, granite, gneiss, and bluestone. In Pennsylvania and Tennessee, you are likely to be working with sandstone. At every Stone Trust training site, you will engage in hands-on experience with the basic rules of structural dry stone walling to apply directly to all types of dry stone projects.
Come learn from certified waller-teachers, most of whom earn their livelihoods as dry stone walling professionals. All Stone Trust instructors have achieved DSWA Level 2 Waller Certification, globally recognized as the professional standard. As Stone Trust-DSWA-certified instructors, all belong to a learning community that seeks to ensure that every one of you learns what you came for and that you enjoy the process. With a student : instructor ratio of 8 : 1, you can count on plenty of direct interaction with your teachers. Introductory workshops tend to include up to sixteen participants working with two experienced waller-teachers.
Sample Workshop Agenda
Some Stone Trust training sites now offer a two-day version of the retaining wall workshop. Two days give you more hands-on time to apply the basic principles. Spend more time working with batter frames and stringlines. Sleep on what you learn and come back to practice with guidance. Enjoy more time interacting with classmates and waller-teachers, and more time getting answers to your questions.
- 9:00 - 9:30
- Introductions and Overview: How the wall is built and why it is built that way.
- 9:30 - 10:00
- Stripping Out, Stone Sorting, Safety and Stone Sorting
- 10:00 - 10:30
- Excavation, Drainage, Foundations, Batter Frames and Stringlines
- 10:30 - 12:30
- First Lift: Principles of walling and backfilling discussed, demonstrated, and practiced as you build the first few courses
- 12:30 - 1:00
- Lunch and Conversation
- 1:00 - 1:30
- 1:30 - 1:45
- Tool Talk and/or Tour of Walls
- 1:45 - 3:45
- Second Lift (techniques for handling smaller stones)
- 3:45 - 4:30
- Cover Bands and/or Copes
- 4:30 - 5:00
- Clean-up, Review, Workshop Evaluation
- Thanks for Coming! (Certificate of Completion, T-shirts, and walling information)
Please note, instructors use their discretion to organize the day for an optimal learning experience.
Important to Know
Detailed info will be emailed to you once you register including what to bring and directions. You will receive a reminder notice a week or two in advance. Please add the Stone Trust to your contact list to ensure that emails arrive in your inbox.
Licensed Landscape Architects can receive 7.5 LA CES credits for participating in this one-day workshop. You can receive 15 LA CES credits for participating in the two-day version.
next Step Workshops
Women’s Retaining Wall