Little Compton, RI

Walls, Walls… and more Walls

Single Stacked Stonewalls

Under the creative direction of Landscape Architect, Joe Wahler, of Stephen Stimson Associates, this property features over one thousand feet of free standing, dry set, single stacked walls.  Some walls were preexisting in need of repair, and some were added and constructed to match the stylings of the of the existing walls. 

Prominent throughout Little Compton, RI, these walls contain no structural concrete or mortar, and feature a loose fitting, but stable arrangement of field stone.  With very little tooling and shaping, each stone is selected and placed with an eye toward the overall aesthetic and stability of the wall.  While the finished wall presents an informal appearance, with irregular joints and the occasional glimpse of daylight between the stones, it is no less challenging to construct.

At the height of construction, a team of eighteen masons and crew members transformed a pile of about 250 tons of stone into 350 linear feet of new walls, in less than a week.

Grade Changes

Before the first stone was laid, the entire property needed to be regraded to take advantage of water views.  Because the property owner was building a new home, and wanted to improve sight lines from the home and outdoor living areas, the home was to be constructed about seven feet higher than the site of the previous home.  Working closely with the home builder, Dennis Talbot Construction,  the grade was raised and reshaped to create a gradual and naturalized ascent from the waters edge up to the elevated site of the new home.

 Hand Split with Feathers and Wedges

In stark contrast to the rounded and loose fitting stone used on the dry stacked walls, the motor court features a precise, and more formal, cut granite wall.  Slabs of granite were delivered to the job site for this wall, and were hand split using feathers and wedges.  Each stone was shaped with hammers and chisels, and placed with great precision.  When completed, the tooling marks on the face of each stone become part of the character of the wall, and reveal the hand crafted attention to detail.  When washed with light by fixtures at the base of the wall, the results are dramatic.


Many thanks to our client for inviting us to be a part of the team, and to rest of the project team for your professionalism and hard work throughout.


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