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bluestone steps ??

Posted by chris_gargs conn (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 16:05

Hello All,
This is my first post here and really first year getting involved in gardening and landscaping. My wife and I just bought our first house this past August and its our first spring in it. Needless to say I am very excited to get going. My question is, has anybody laid down bluestone steps on a dirt hillside. And if u have, what are some of the pointers you would give to a newbie. Thx


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: bluestone steps ??

I will say this, as a consumer like you. I am no designer, but I have opinions. Not sure what bluestone is, but I'm very sure designers here will NOT address your questions. They do not know what to do with a hill.... most of them. There are some.

Very few people live on hillsides. Most just have ordinary flat tract homes. Those are cake to landscape.

A hillside is a whole new ballgame. We own a huge hill. I call it a mountain! It goes down to a seasonal stream and then back up on the other side.

I suggest you post photos of your project, and let people chime in.

And you are in CT? so zone what?

We have so many steps put in by previous owners. Nothing matches, but I'm grateful for all of them and for my hiking staff.

Terraces and steps are in your future!

Suzi


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RE: bluestone steps ??

Not sure what bluestone is, but I'm very sure designers here will NOT address your questions. They do not know what to do with a hill.... most of them. There are some.

Not sure why anyone would make such an outrageous statement!! Why wouldn't a designer know what to do with a hill?? And FWIW, a large part of SoCal is built on hillsides, not to mention scores of other locations, so the whole premise of this theory is in question.

Regardless........how do you intend to lay the stone? As slabs or as pavers? And how do you intend to prep the area? Laying pavers/steps on a hillside is not much different from laying pavers on a flat surface - the basic prep work is the same.

A photo of the area in question is worth a thousand words :-)) And let us know how you plan to proceed with this project as far as the prep is concerned. I'm sure several designers will respond.


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RE: bluestone steps ??

Let's see, the OP posted his concerns on the 7th. Usually a designer will answer. Nothing.

Now gardengal is sure one of them will respond on the 8th.

I'm not so sure. I do live on a massive hillside and our property includes a ravine with a seasonal stream. The hillside garden forum is dead.

I have watched, over and over, people posting here who have questions about hillsides get completely ignored. I usually just post to bump hoping some designer will pay attention.

Scroll down and see who responded to other hillside requests. Me. That's about it!

I did pose a question with photos a while back and yaardvark told me to address other areas of my yard. Period!

Suzi


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RE: bluestone steps ??

Ummmm, I AM a designer. I do not visit Garden Web every day because I am busy working, especially at this time of year. And while we designers DO respond to questions frequently, we are often disinclined to design for free online. Which is why one doesn't always see a lot of response from the pros for the "help me design" posts.

And since there is so much response to this forum from non-professionals, response from the practicing designers is not nearly as active as it has been in prior years. Nor as diverse. But if you check the archives, hillside landscaping has been discussed many times. I am not completely sure asking how to lay steps on a hillside fully qualifies as 'landscaping' but we can let that go.

At least I asked some relevant questions to get the OP to clarify their intent. And further explain their situation.


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RE: bluestone steps ??

bumping so I won't miss further responses. I need to relay 18x18 exposed aggregate pavers that got moved around like driftwood after torrential rains last summer. Want to know recommended base materials. Mine is on a slope also.

gardengal, your advise and opinions are always welcomed by me. Appreciate you!

Rosie


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RE: bluestone steps ??

Well, this from an owner of a mountain. Start at the bottom. Frame the steps, pour concrete one wheelbarrow at a time, and set the pavers in. Keep it wet till the concrete sets. A week. Seriously wet it.

If you don't want to concrete, then you need to put a lot of framework and sand to keep the pavers in place.

I am learning the hardscrabble way.

Rogue, Suzi


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RE: bluestone steps ??

"Not sure why anyone would make such an outrageous statement!!" [that a designer would not know what to do with a hill.] I thought the exact same thing ... outrageous.

"and yaardvark told me to address other areas of my yard. Period!" I think you are missing some nuances of the reply. I often comment on extra things. People are generally interested what makes their property look good. It isn't necessarily limited to a plant or a brick. It could be anything that is within the picture. We could take another look at your thread, but my recollection was that your reply to my suggestions was on the huffy, not-very-thankful side ... which is why I had nothing further to contribute. Not here to twist arms. Some people expect a solution before there is any dialogue. Unless they provide all the relevant information up front (which is almost never) it can't happen.


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RE: bluestone steps ??

OP, could you post a photo of this blue stone and your mission with it? You now have the attention of actual designers.

Suzi


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RE: bluestone steps ??

Yardvark, fix his problem. This isn't about me. I've been officially dismissed by you. But I am a champion for the ignored.

Suzi


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RE: bluestone steps ??

do you want steps that are in slab form ( they are thick enough to be both the riser and the tread)
OR
a combination of blue stone tread and field stone riser ?
and or do you plan to have side walls ?

probably best to scan some images on Houzz , find an example of what you want and then ask about construction methods.


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RE: bluestone steps ??

Wow! I wish you were in So CA, deviant...

I'm a little rogue! Love this!

Suzi


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RE: bluestone steps ??

The OP has to set some parameters, and then participate in the conversation (answer questions, provide site photos, react to suggestions, etc.) We don't know anything about his project other than it's stone and a hill.


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RE: bluestone steps ??

sorry about my incomplete/vague posting. and sorry about setting off such a sore subject about design pros giving away free advise. im just looking for tips from dyi-ers who might have laid down some stone. im using 2in bluestone/flagstone and i want to stagger in up a slope/hillside on the back of my yard. im posting pics.


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RE: bluestone steps ??

here is another pic of the hill facing up, im gonna start on the bottom and work my way up. how deep should i dig to start my gravel drainage


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RE: bluestone steps ??

"how deep should i dig to start my gravel drainage"

You aren't close to being ready to dig.

There is a major difference in construction methods between cold and warm climates. You first need to identify a method that will work for your area. Since I live in a warm climate and you in a cold one (zone 2), there is little I can suggest.

Regardless of climate and construction types, there are good steps and bad ones. Good steps are uniform in both riser height and tread distance. And the relation of riser to tread dimensions should conform to a simple formula.

Begin your design by measuring the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the slope and approaches where the steps will be built. Make a profile drawing of the slope to scale.


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RE: bluestone steps ??

I still don't think it's clear what the intent is. Is this to be a solid stone staircase ... or stepping stones set into the hill?


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RE: bluestone steps ??

I guess I will take a stab at answering what I think the question is.

IMHO, a mortared stone staircase is well beyond the ability of somebody without construction experience. There are too many things that have to be aligned, fit together, levelled, etc.

A DIY stepping stone 'stair' is a totally different animal. However, it isn't going to be very solid. The idea is the stones are placed, then when they move, they are moved back. I'd avoid anything else other than the stones because it will just get in the way when the stones have to be replaced. The biggest issue for DIY with this is that larger stones will be less likely to move, but also much heavier to place.

A hybrid type would be framing out the steps with landscape timbers, then paving them with dry-laid stone. This is very commonly done with pavers and brick, and should be doable with bluestone. It is a reasonable DIY job, though it will take time and effort.


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RE: bluestone steps ??

2" slabs of bluestone are for flatwork (patios, walks). If you're just dry-setting them this is the wrong application for the material. If you're setting them on something, whole other story


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RE: bluestone steps ??

This is a hiking trail with small boulders set into the steep hillside going up along a waterfall. They have not budged in years and are simply set in soil. I have also done step stone stairs on a natural slope in my back yard by setting the stones in the soil which is clay, then surrounding them with rough natural gravel for drainage. They aren't going anywhere and I prefer the natural edge. Though the polished designer layouts are fantastic, I had a good amount of hardscape remnants around to use up.


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