Natural Path Landscaping: Creating A Natural Work of Art Right Outside Your Door
Walls can define a boundary, hold back soil, provide a terrace on a slope, or offer seating along a patio. Your wall should also deliver a strong visual statement, and will only become more beautiful as it withstands our tough weather year after year.
Just look to the old New England stone walls that we see along many of our country roads or in the woods. They give us a strong connection to our past. The old walls supporting our dams and railroad right-of-ways for 150+ years are still impressive and very beautiful.
What about today’s landscape walls? At Natural Path Landscaping, we usually build landscape walls either with interlocking, concrete blocks to form Segmental Retaining Walls (SRW), or we build them with rock. We advise that poured concrete walls are too harsh, and pressure-treated timber walls are too temporary.
Interlocking concrete Segmental Retaining Walls are very strong and last a long, long time if properly constructed. They can also be very attractive if a high end interlocking concrete product is chosen and the wall has a pleasing design. We do not recommend Segmental Retaining Walls for historic properties, however, since they have no resemblance to anything that might have been built 100+ years ago.
Rock walls can either be built with mortar/concrete, or built ‘dry’ where gravity and the art of construction are the adhesive that holds them together for 100+ years. The rock walls built by Natural Path Landscaping are almost always dry walls built with native New England rock. We find that soft Pennsylvania fieldstone just doesn’t fit authentically into most of our designs (even though other landscapers commonly choose it for its low cost and relatively flat nature). And we don’t believe in using mortar to stick a large flat rock vertically into a wall face to make it look like a large boulder. A rock wall should be inherently stable without any type of mortar. (It should not depend on mortar for its stability, even if you plan on using mortar.)