12 insights for a new year from building stone walls

lessons from building a stone wall
Rocks are abundant in Connecticut. Since this is where I live, when I have spare time, I build stone walls.
Even if you’re an amateur or have no experience, anyone can build one. It”s an experience that’s rich in learning because rocks always teach something new.
Here are 8 insights for a new year from building stone walls.

  • THE ONE ESSENTIAL IS TO HAVE A PURPOSE: Few tools if any are required to build a stone wall and the rocks, of course, are very available. Just putting a few stones together gets you started. But you need a purpose and a plan for what you intend to build and can’t start without one.

Stone Walls require a plan

  • THE ONLY WAY TO PROVE YOUR PURPOSE IS BUILD UPON IT: To show belief and faith in what you’ve started, there are no shortcuts other than to keep adding to what you’ve begun.

Belief in your purpose require how you add to it

  • A STONE WALL DOESN’T CREATE BARRIERS; IT SHOWS HOW YOU DEFINE BOUNDARIES: What most people perceive as a stone wall is actually a stone fence. It’s used to show boundaries rather than act as a barrier.
  • FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION: They are only two kinds of stone walls – free-standing stone walls or retaining walls meant to hold up the land. The form it takes depends on function you give it.


  • THE ACTION YOU TAKE MOST OFTEN IS TO MAKE CHOICES: Although there is some lifting, fitting and pushing stone into place, you spend the most time making a choice: what stone should go here?
  • A STONE THAT FINDS  ITS PERFECT FIT IS SUPPORTED EQUALLY BE A STONE ON EITHER SIDE: The answer to this question, what stone should go here, is not the biggest, squarest or most unique-looking stone. It’s the stone that is held is place because it is balanced equally by two other stones.

free standing stone wall

  • A STONE WALL THAT ENDURES REPEATS THIS PATTERN OVER AND OVER: One stone balanced and supported by two other stones repeated over and over is the key dynamic behind a stone wall that stands the test of time.
  • STONE WALLS SHOULD LEAN TOWARD THE TOP: Even structures as rigid as stone walls are not meant to be perfect straight. As a rule, a dry stacked wall should lean in towards the top 1/6 of the height.
  • CAPSTONES SHOULD BE SET ASIDE WHEN THEY ARE FOUND: The crowning achievement is a capstone placed at the top. Since they are the final stroke, you are likely to spot one as your are building. It should be set aside and used at the end to recognize achievements.

Capstone in a dry stacked stone wall

  • YOUR WORK HOLDS UP FOR CENTURIES: There are few things that any of us could build that could a purpose and function based on the successful repetition of a simple principle that are capable of standing for centuries.
  • THERE IS A STORY BEHIND EVERY STONE WALL: Once you build a stone wall for yourself, you will look at them differently. For me, they capture my imagination and I wonder: Who built them? How many were involved? How long did it take and why was it built?

BarnRaisers is a full service digital marketing solutions company. We help businesses achieve their goals in new channels of digital, social, mobile. We make results happen quickly but purposefully because we repeat patterns that work over and over. We’ve found this makes enduring brands.
How about you? Do these insights from building a stone wall give you any ideas for the new year?

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