Good fences may make good neighbours, but the owners of Creative Landscape Depot believe their stone wall makes the situation even better still.
Work started this week on an extension on the dry stone wall that runs across the front of the King Street, St. Jacobs property.
Father-and-son team Monty and Jordan Ward agree that the stone wall fits the heritage of the old farm property the business is located on, and keeps it from looking too industrial.
“As this strip goes more commercial, we can’t just be an industrial basin entering St. Jacobs or the downtown will suffer,” Monty said.
Creative Landscape Depot started several years ago as a landscaping business operating out of Waterloo. After purchasing the two-acre parcel of land in St. Jacobs, they frequently had contractors and gardeners stopping in to ask questions and buy a few pieces.
“We finally made a decision with all this interest that there was a need and an opportunity for another landscape supply depot in the region,” Jordan said.
With all the materials on site, they knew they needed some sort of fence, and Monty came up with the idea of a dry stone wall.
“It will definitely keep vehicles and trailers off the site when we’re closed, but it will allow customers to stop on their own terms if we’re not here and tour the products,” Jordan said. “We thought it was a creative way to fence in a stone yard.”
Dry stone walls are made without mortar by carefully placing interlocking stones.
They’re building the extension with stones bought from a supplier in Wiarton, but the stones in the original wall were gathered by hand. The Wards hand-delivered letters to farmers living on the Niagara Escarpment in the Milton area, asking if they could harvest stones out of their field. They spent three weeks digging stones out of the field, loading them into trucks and trailers, and hauling them back to St. Jacobs.
While they were busy gathering the rocks, they started seeing stone walls everywhere. In addition to doing research on the Internet and reading books on stone walls, they simply asked farmers how the walls on their property had been built.
“We didn’t know if it would work or not, we just picked a starting point,” Jordan laughed.
The wall sits on 18 inches of gravel, and the largest stones at the bottom are sunk a few inches in the ground. Jordan estimates there are 120 tonnes of stones in the original wall, which is 260 feet long. He and a friend spent about a week and a half building the wall, painstakingly laying each stone by hand.
“The best part of the wall is the amount of interest it creates,” Jordan said.
They often have people dropping into the business to ask about the wall and how it was built. Monty said they’re happy to talk to anyone interested in building a wall of their own, and they plan to host seminars on dry stone walls in the future.
“It’s a lost art,” he said.