Build a stone fireplace in your back yard by stacking the stones naturally and organically . . . . . . with the help of a worldwide network of resources dedicated to preserving and perpetuating an age-old tradition. To many, a
fireplace is the ultimate way to go. Fortunately, there is a global community of like-minded individuals, organizations and other resources you can turn to for guidance and direction!
Dry stacked stone (without mortar) structures and other architectural ele- ments have been around for centuries. Ancient stone walls and fences, in particular, have withstood the test of time and can still be found in many parts of the world. Generally, they were constructed by chipping and cut- ting the stones, where necessary, then carefully fitting them together like pieces of a puzzle. Though labor intensive, the end result was often spec- tacular, and, over time, developed into an art form.
In addition to its natural beauty, a dry stone structure will outlast one that is "mortared" -- especially in climates where there is a wide variation in an- nual temperature. With freeze/thaw conditions, mortar eventually breaks down and requires periodic maintenance to sustain its structural integrity. And, as with any structure/architectural element that employs mortar to bind the stones together, the dry stone technique works with any stone size . . . from small rubble-like stones to huge boulders!
Due to a resurgence of interest among a growing number of enthusiasts, several organizations -- worldwide -- have been established over the past decade, or so, to both preserve existing dry stone structures and to pro- mote and perpetuate this ancient art form through workshops and semi- nars (See list of resources below). The dry stacked stone fireplace that follows is the work of one such practitioner, Eblacker & Stone, based in Rochester, New York, USA.
To build a stone fireplace outdoors employing the dry stone method, the sky is the limit when it comes to size, shape, and design. Pictured at right is a striking outdoor stone fireplace design by
in Bernardsville, New Jersey, USA.
The monumental dry stacked stone fireplace pictured below is part of an incredible hunting lodge in South Carolina, USA. Constructed by Hearth- stone Log & Timber Homes, this stunning structure can be viewed at our sister site,
Large slabs of quartzite from New York-based
were em- ployed to build a stone fireplace (right) that is very striking -- albeit bold and daring -- in design.
Equally striking, along with its majestic setting, is the stone fireplace pictured below. Designed by Bozeman, Monta- na-based
it is rep- resentative of the outstanding work of this premier architectural design firm!
If you're planning to build a stone fireplace in your back yard employing the dry stone method, a great resource to check out is
Dry Stone Wal- ling Across Canada,
formerly the Dry Stone Wall Association of Canada. The dry stacked stone fireplaces depicted in the five images that follow were all created by members of Dry Stone Walling Across Canada. Clear- ly, this organization is made up of a devoted and dedicated group of en- thusiasts that know how to build a stone fireplace!
The Stone Wall Initiative -- a component of the Connecticut State Mu- seum of Natural History and the University of Connecticut -- is another very good resource that publishes an excellent, albeit condensed, online primer for building a dry stone wall. To access it, please
In addition to those referenced above, the following resources are chock full of information for both beginners and experienced stone artisans:
Dry Stone Conservancy (Lexington, Kentucky, USA) http://www.drystone.org
The Stone Foundation (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA) http://www.stonefoundation.org
Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain http://www.dswa.org.uk
L'Architecture En Pierre Sèche (France) http://www.pierreseche.com
Dry Stone Wall Association of Australia http://www.dswaa.org.au
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