A walk in the New England woods will undoubtedly reveal remnants of a fieldstone wall, standing strong amongst trees and forest brush.
Wednesday July 20, 2016
Those woods were probably cleared for farmland hundreds of years ago. Piles of unearthed stones were typically stacked in a low wall along property lines. Fieldstone walls are a tradition going back centuries, most notably found in England and Ireland. They aren’t as common today, but not all is lost. There are different ways to build a fieldstone wall on your land.
The strength and look of ancient fieldstone walls were only as good as the skill of the farmers who stacked them. This means the walls varied greatly in size, consistency, and fortitude. The longest-lasting walls were likely constructed by stone masons who traveled the countryside peddling their talents.
Not too many fieldstone masons practice their art today, but they do exist. Ken Ely of Good Neighbor Walls in Pennsylvania is one such artist. Mr. Ely is a fieldstone expert who uses nearby stone supply to build garden or landscaping walls for private and commercial properties. Mr. Ely is often found teaching the ancient techniques of constructing fieldstone into a solid wall.
“Our landscapes are laced with fieldstone walls, many over 150 years old,” Mr. Ely said via email recently. He says that fieldstone walls are especially common in the East Coast of the U.S. “Farmers had to remove the fieldstone from fields as they tilled them, and that’s where our walls began.”
A fieldstone masonry artist should be called for certain situations. “My typical installation is either a restoration of a collapsed wall or a new wall that enhances the client’s property, such as a retaining wall bordering a driveway or garden area,” says Mr. Ely. If you seek to repair an original fieldstone wall, enhance a historically-registered property, or simply want the pure authenticity of this ancient practice, contact Mr. Ely or another fieldstone mason near you.
Here at EP Henry, we are stone masons at heart. We have the utmost respect for artisans like Mr. Ely who keep the traditions alive. But as modern manufacturers, we also realize the old ways aren’t the best solution for every situation. If you want the look of fieldstone but would like to save time and money, EP Henry has developed state-of-the-art cast stone designed to look like natural fieldstone. Take a look at some of our catalog photos of walls made from our mortarless, cast stone walls.
Because cast stone is manufactured and not quarried or unearthed, the colors, shapes and sizes are all customizable. Also, our cast stone wall is easily installed and widely available. One of our authorized contractors will be able to match or complement your existing Hardscape, adding to the beauty and functionality of the installation.
We want you to love your home, and we all love the look of stone. Find the best option for you and your property’s Hardscape. Whether by ancient art or modern science, you don’t have to go without the deep sense of history and connection to the natural world that stone brings.