The Backyard Stonebuilder


159 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations
ISBN 1-895629-67-5
DDC 690'.89





Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



Respect for the reader’s common sense, a great sense of humor, and
good instincts for when to explain and when to skip ahead make this book
a source of inspiration for anyone with an urge to become a weekend

The detailed information on tools, materials, and methods is tucked
away at the back of the book, where it can be consulted if needed, but
is well out of the way of the handyperson who already knows all that
stuff. This approach involves the reader in a project from page one,
keeping interest high and the pace brisk.

The book walks the amateur mason through several typical backyard
projects (gate posts, a garden wall, a patio, a barbecue, etc.) and then
adds some larger projects (such as a dock, a porch, and a smokehouse)
for the more am-bitious.

Throughout, the author assumes that the reader is taking on
stonebuilding as a hobby. Although the basic principles of working with
stone are well covered, the book is not intended for contractors or for
commercial applications.

Stone has appeal because it is a natural material with both durability
and strength. It is surprisingly versatile and usually free. The author
writes with the ease that comes from extensive experience with his
subject; this in turn promotes confidence and reassures the first-time
mason that a great stone project is only a weekend away.


Long, Charles., “The Backyard Stonebuilder,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 18, 2024,