We would normally supply stone for the features we build. Most of this is weathered sandstone with a brown / pinkish red tinge. This weathers further after completion, and turns slightly darker. The stone is lifted every year from agricultural fields after ploughing and dropped off in piles at the edge. We select what we can use by hand and store it in the farmyard.
This kind of sandstone is sedimentary and much of it is fairly flat; the more rounded stone is used for cope stones on top of the wall. The stone is weathered in varying degrees – some was lifted over a hundred years ago, and this adds to the mosaic of colours once the wall is built. Mosses and lichens again colonise the stone after construction.
We would normally deliver stone in trailer loads, then barrow it into position for building. The alternative is to use quarried stone delivered in a lorry – this can be a slightly more messy operation, and there is always an excess to be removed after completion. A more exact amount of stone with the right mix of sizes can be loaded by hand and delivered in a trailer.
The great advantage of using farm stone is that it is already partly weathered and the range of colours already exists. By comparison, blasted stone from a quarry is much more uniform and bland, and will take years to settle and mature.
The process of bringing stone in from the fields, selecting the right mix of sizes for a certain design, loading by hand into a trailer, delivering the stone and then barrowing it into position for building, can sometimes take almost as long as building the feature itself. The stone is dropped off immediately beside where the feature is to go – some kind of sheeting is normally laid under it to protect grass, and this will avoid a muddy ring on the lawn after completion.