Hi, I'm a novice building a small natural stone (Cotswold) wall with recessed seating – c. 4m long wall, double skin. I have about 200 stones, various shapes, sizes. My plan is to do footing, then get cracking. My questions are: 1.Which mortar do I use? I want it to be light coloured to match stone, but to last. I've heard lime is good, but difficult to work with and less strong, although more flexible? Some suggest a mix of lime, cement, sand? 1:1:5? Others say this is heresy. Which is it!? Any others have suggested snowcrete to make it lighter? 2. Also, once mortared, there will be space between the two skins of stone, as the wall is c. 60 cm wide at the bottom. Can this space be filled with concrete and small stones? Or does it need to be more mortar. 3. I want to include planters/flowerpot sunk in basins at each end – should these be made of different cement/mortar if plants will be watered? Do they need drainage channels? 4. Should I use wall ties, if so – how?
I would say the same as Welsh Brickie being honest. Lime mortar is very good when used right and in the correct application but it's not the only player in town. It's tough to get a neat finish and can get really messy if you are not experienced working with it. Forget the heresy mob for some there is never any other way to go than the latest trend. and this is not a conservation project. Snowcrete is a brand of white Portland cement. If you are looking to make the colour more in keeping, use a yellow sand or a little ochre dye. Most layers fill the middle with the broken bits of stone left around, I always mixed it with a bit of mortar but maybe I am being fussy. Don't really need ties but you can put some in if you want. Traditionally you used a "bonder" stone every square yard, that being a stone large enough to straddle both skins of the wall although that tradition seems to have gone by the bye these days. Good luck and have fun.
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