A dry stone wall is a type of wall constructed without the use of mortar or any other adhesive material to bind the stones together. Instead, the weight and shape of the stones are used to create a stable structure.
To ensure that the wall stays dry in the center, several design elements are typically incorporated.
Firstly, the stones used in the construction of the wall are carefully selected for their size and shape to ensure that they fit tightly together with minimal gaps between them. This helps to prevent water from penetrating the wall.
Secondly, the wall is constructed with a slight slope or batter, which means that it leans slightly inwards towards the center of the wall. This helps to shed water away from the center of the wall and prevent it from seeping through.
Finally, the wall is often built with a capstone or coping stone on top to further prevent water from penetrating the center of the wall.
Capping stones, also known as cope stones, are flat stones that are placed on top of a dry stone wall to provide a protective cover or cap. These stones are often larger and wider than the stones used in the body of the wall and are carefully chosen for their durability and weather resistance.
Capping stones serve several purposes on a dry stone wall. Firstly, they help to shed water away from the top of the wall, preventing it from seeping down into the structure and causing damage. This is particularly important in areas with heavy rainfall or where the wall is exposed to the elements.
Secondly, capping stones provide a smooth and level surface on the top of the wall, which can be useful for a variety of purposes.
I usually sit my 'toppings' on top of the capping stone.
'Toppings' generally refer to the stones that are spread on top of a completed wall to provide a final layer of protection and finish.
Toppings serve several purposes. Firstly, they help to protect the wall from weathering and erosion by providing a barrier against rain, wind, and other elements. They can also help to discourage plants or animals from climbing or burrowing into the wall.
Secondly, toppings can help to stabilize the wall by filling in any gaps or irregularities in the surface and providing additional weight and support.
Finally, toppings can enhance the visual appearance of the wall by creating a smooth and even surface, providing a contrasting color or texture, or complementing the natural surroundings.
Toppings can be made of a variety of materials, including small stones, gravel, crushed rock, or sand, depending on the desired effect and the local availability of materials. They are typically spread over the top of the wall and carefully leveled and compacted to create a uniform surface.
Finally, capping stones add an aesthetic element to the wall, providing a finishing touch that can enhance the appearance of the structure. They can be chosen to match the color and texture of the stones used in the rest of the wall or can be made of a contrasting material to create a striking visual effect.
Overall, the combination of these design elements helps to create a wall that is able to stay dry in the center, even in wet conditions.