Cheaper, faster, better (and green)? It is the trifecta that usually requires a concession on one side to gain on another. You want it fast — well it will loose quality….or you want it cheap – well it might take a while….. whatever the item, its rare to be able to capitalize on all three. And adding a green consideration into the equation is, at this point, generally a wild card.
So you can imagine my enthusiasm when I recently discovered Natural Stone Wall Solutions a local company that has developed a patented process to build and install real stone walls that are as much 50% cheaper than competitors, are better built, are faster and are environmentally friendly.
How you might ask? Well they have developed a system by which stone walls are constructed in a factory of sorts (right now it is this yard). And then delivered to the site and often installed (often) in a single day. Because the walls are built off site, homeowners experience much less disruption to their site and their existing landscape, the crews do not need to travel to or have materials delivered on-site (which often requires disturbing other areas of the site) and saves on fuel. And the walls are of very high quality and come with complete engineering services, built in weep holes, filter fabric, and footings. You can check out the entire specs on their website.
Rather than build walls vertically, they start out horizontally…each wall is built face down in a bed of sand that can be adjusted to create whatever curvature is required. The walls are built face down and when completed are flipped up to reveal the face. (you can see below, the face down walls that were built just before my visit to the plant.)
When the walls are turned upright they look like this….
You can see that the mortar joints can vary from very thin to much thicker as can the size, style, color and shape of the stone.
When the product goes to site, the wall pieces are locked into place with an injected concrete system that you can see on the side. Seams are invisible because each section is left with a few anchors at the edge that blend adjoining pieces. So the only actual masonry work done on site is one or two stones placed per walls section as the pieces are put into place. The efficiency savings are huge not just on an environmental level, but also on a cost level. An average natural stone wall built on site, in this area, costs roughly $60/sq ft of face…..these are generally around $35/sq ft of face. I can’t wait to try the system out and plan to use Natural Stone Walls at the next opportunity. If you are as excited as I am about this revolution in stone wall building….you can learn more at the Natural Stone Wall Solutions website.
I am heading out for the weekend… What garden projects do you have planned? I have lots… of course…. (and I am so excited to see a strawberry tower – (not so secretly) – being constructed in the barn…I am looking forward to this wonderful mothers day gift!)