Slate drystone wall

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Slate drystone wall

Postby barbara » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:30 pm

This may be a very stupid question to drystone experts, but I have a problem that only you could solve. I have some leftover roofing tiles that I would like to use in the garden. I thought of using them for low (30 cm high) drystone walls for raised beds. Does this idea make sense? If yes, how shall I proceed? How should the foundation be made and how wide the wall should be. I live in a country with no drystone experience. Please help.
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Re: Slate drystone wall

Postby jerryg » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:59 pm

Hello Barbara, where you live sounds like a nightmare place for the likes of me, no dry stone walls....anywhere? I didn't realise such a country existed :(

Back to your wall, you can build a drystone wall with virtually any stone but can you give us some idea of the size of your stone/slates and how many you have got?
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Re: Slate drystone wall

Postby barbara » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:17 am

Hello Jerry,
look at it as a country of an enormous opportunity for the likes of you - so many drystone walls to build! And thanks a lot for responding. When I posted my question I was not sure anybody would treat it seriously
My tiles are 40x20 cm, they are thin - typical roofing tiles. I have app. 1 cubic metre. I do not want to build any mortared structure because I think it will destroy the natural beauty of slate. I have seen some creative uses of slate in BBC gardening programmes but I cannot find any instruction for an uneducated builder like myself.
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Re: Slate drystone wall

Postby jerryg » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:14 pm

By my reckoning if you have a cubic metre of 20 by 40 slates you'll have about 800 slates. If you don't break any you could just stack them on each other all lengthways on to create a wall 40 cm wide by 30 cm high by about 8 metres long (I think). Simple to do but would not be very strong, unless you used mortar and then it'd look crap. You could break them up and it still wouldn't produce much of anytning apart from a pile of filling.

This might work for you. I have never tried this but can't see any reason why it should not work. It doesn't involve any mortar, and you don't need to break many slates. And if you have a meteorite land on your roof you will have lots of replacement slates. Though some bright spark may suggest you need concrete to hold the slates in place, I don't think you do. The result will not look like a dry stone wall but you are a bit limited by your materials. There are plenty of gardens around here that have vertical slate edges to their paths so it should work for this.

Dig a narrow trench 20cm deep , stand the slates up vertically in the trench and then compact the ground around them to hold them up-right. They need to be placed so that each slate butts up tight against the last one. When you have filled in the trench on the inside to 10 cm from the top of original ground level you then need to place a second line of vertical slates up tight against the first line overlapping the joints and also so that each one overlapping the next one to stop the earth falling out.

Because the inner line of vertical slates have to both cross the outer joints and overlap each other you may find the need to cut occasional one so as not to have a double joint occasionally.

You may get away with having the slates sticking up 2/3rds rather than 1/2 but stronger this way. Then dig another trench in a parallel line about 30/40 cm from the first one and repeat exercise.

You would then have 2 lines of vertical slates sticking up out of the ground by 30 cm. Fill this in with top soil and not only will you have a raised bed wall you'll be able to plant up this too or you could save some slates to put on top and cover with flowerpots.

Not sure how long you want your beds to run but if you lay your slates out you'll see how far you can go.

I have added 2 of my rudimentary drawings to try to explain what I mean.
slate wall ideas.jpg
slate wall ideas.jpg (15.61 KiB) Viewed 7468 times
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Re: Slate drystone wall

Postby barbara » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:10 pm

Many, many thanks. It looks excellent and allows me to use all the slate I have. I will keep you posted about the results. :D
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Re: Slate drystone wall

Postby Steaming North » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:59 am

Morning all,

Would you plan to top this off with something? Could you have a run of turf or even an open flower bed arrangement?

I can't see why it wouldn't work either by the way. Over the years it may move slightly, but the you'd get tat with everything
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Re: Slate drystone wall

Postby angiebuds » Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:49 pm

You have a good disposition about the roofing style you want. Well, you can actually form a stronger vertical slate but you have to study everything about it. Make sure that the wall should also be done very durable.


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