A great accent for your walkways and paths is a set of stone steps on any gradation on your property. Proper planning and preparation of the ground are vital to installing stone steps that last. Get ready for some dirty work!
1. Plan the location and materials
First you’re going to have to choose the location. Find a spot with good water drainage that is as close to your path as possible.
Talking to a local stone supply store will help you find the best stones for your steps. Generally speaking, a flat stone keeps things nice and uniform. River rock, sandstone, flagstone and other flat rock are what you’ll be looking for to make installation easy.
2. Stake out your area
Use a tape measure to mark out how wide you want your steps to be. You can place stakes and string them up, or use landscape paint at these points to clearly show where you want to place your steps.
3. Start digging your outline
This is where we get dirty! Grab a flat shovel and start following the general outline. A curved shovel will only make things complicated. Dig around the entire area to clear away the top layer of dirt.
4. Begin forming your steps
Start at the bottom and measure up 6 to 8 inches. From there dig out the first step shape, dig back about 10 to 12 inches from the front. This is the ideal height and length of step to walk on. Follow this same process all the way to the top.
5. Do your final prep work
A hoe or small hand trowel will help you form the last bit of outline work. When you finish digging use a hand held compactor to get the dirt firm and tight.
6. Install stones
This is where you’re going to install your steps! Lay them down and check to be sure they’re level. Use the dirt you should have around to fill in areas around the rocks, reseed with grass and allow some time for them to settle and set.
Photo credit to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7282451@N02/