Matching Granite for Front Yard Retaining Walls?

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Does anyone know where you can buy granite stones that matches the front retaining walls of so many DC row homes. I’ve been looking around but am coming up blank!”

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10 Comment

  • Check Rock, Stone, Sand Yard in Lorton, VA. http://www.rssy.com

  • Our landscape architect claimed to have called every quarry he knew of in the mid-atlantic to ask whether they supplied the granite used on DC retaining walls. No luck! I would be surprised if the granite came from further than Pennsylvania, since it is so ubiquitous to the city.
    .
    I also wonder whether years of city dust, smoke, and exhaust has weathered or darkened the stone. It’s possible that a century of exposure has turned a lighter stone much darker (although washing with acid doesn’t lighten the stone, so I may be totally incorrect on that.) If you’re patching a wall, keep in mind that the new mortar (and white-rope caulk) likely won’t match the color of the older caulk. You’re probably best off trying to find someone who is tearing down their stone wall and getting the rocks off of them.
    .
    To weather my new, lighter colored stone faster, I smear dirt and stuff on it, then gently wash it. It darkens the stone and might encourage growth of the various organisms that make stone look cool. We’ll see in a couple years.

  • Does anyone know how ownership/maintenance of these walls work? Mine appears to be outside my property line based on the survey I have from when I closed, but I see developers replacing segments in front of houses their flipping. Am I on my own if something needs repair on my wall?

    • Do you live in within the boundaries of the original L’Enfant city? If so, I imagine that you technically don’t “own” your retaining wall… but you’re responsible for maintaining it.
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      I can’t think of any situation in which the city would be responsible for a homeowner’s retaining wall (although perhaps there are rare exceptions).

      • Not within the L’Enfant city. My retaining wall is 7 feet tall, adjacent to the sidewalk, and contiguous for several houses all originally built around 1900. Given what I know about the history of these houses, it seems unlikely that homeowners were on top of things, but it’s possible the wall’s just never needed upkeep in that century plus. Maybe I’ll never have to find out fore sure.

  • I have a bunch of the pointy granite stones that go on the last course and you can have them.

  • saf

    It’s called Potomac Bluestone. The quarry that most of it came from is gone, and I don’t know if you can get it new any longer.

  • Does anyone know who can repair them and replicate the white piping?

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