geotextiles and stone walls

by alison
(cambridge mass)

i have been advised to use geotextiles to keep weeds from growing through a rebuilt stone wall, but don't see any information on this on your site. please advise.

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Aug 20, 2014
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Geotextiles behind stone walls
by: Dream Yard team

Hi Alison.

It sounds a little odd to hear it explained that way, but not being there for the conversation I will do my best to answer your question.

Using a landscape fabric behind a stone wall is a fairly common practice. I used it myself behind my walls. It serves a few different functions. I have not personally explained it to a client as a weed suppressant though.

The gravel backfill acts as drainage behind the wall. The space between the rocks allows the water to flow freely to a drain tile system near the bottom layer of stone.

Most contractors wrap the drain tile in a fabric "Sock" similar to garden filter cloth. It will let the water into the drain, but keep the soil and other contaminants from plugging it up. The Geotextile fabric is added to create a barrier between the soil bank and the gravel backfill.

This keeps the gravel cleaner as the soil would migrate into it over time and therefore restrict the drainage of the rocks.

This is also helpful in a climate that experiences frost. Soil will hold the water more than clean gravel backfill and can create frost heave against the back of the stones.

For this reason I have developed an almost triangular shape to the whole structure for severe winter climates. My gravel backfill is wrapped in fabric and has an extra wide base that tapers on the way up like a pyramid. I have never had a wall topple over.

I could also make the case that not having soil migrating into the rocks and coming out between the stones would limit weeds growing out through the wall. The only problem with that is most weeds are spores that are blown in and I'm sure you know they can germinate almost anywhere.

I hope I have covered what you needed to know. Please feel free to respond with any more questions and information I may need to answer them.

Good luck with your project.

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