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Walkway... need some advice

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Lawnworks, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    I have got a job this weekend that involves putting step stones into the side of the hill pictured. The stones are about 4-6" tall and are almost like a larger flagstone in shape. I have told the customer I have no experience and will charge accordingly, and she is going to save big bucks. Do I start from the bottom? What should I use as a base for these stones? Any other info I need to know?



  2. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    You should pass on this work,
    steps up a hill that steep should be done by someone with expierience doing that kind of work.
    Should a step you installed fail when someone steps on it,you could open yourself up to a lawsuit and worse,someone could get badly hurt.
    My advice to you is to do a few more smaller jobs ... with less steep
    steps before trying a job like this.Or get some practice first.

    plus I would have a hard time advising without a pic of the stone you are going to use
  3. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    I have taken the job, and will work on it till it is right. What do I need to use to level and set the stone in the hill? Crush and run... sand? Do I need to compact it?
  4. buffalo bill

    buffalo bill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    You were too late, sheshovel :)
    What kind of stone? If you can't tell us straight out what kind , you are over your head. Please don't tell us fieldstone.
  5. dmbmikee

    dmbmikee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    I commend you for taking the job. How else are you going to learn? If the customer knows you're upfront and you've explained your lack of experience, just get it in writing and do the job.

    Last year, I took on a 70 ton boulder retaining wall andhad NO experience. I read online and and help from this forum and went out and did the job. The customer knew I hadn't done this before, as I told them before I started. The wall came out great, I learned a lot, saved the customer some $$ and walked away with some $$. GO FOR IT! Wish I could give you advice.....but I've not do this kind of thing.

    Please give him some help on how to. Telling him not to do the job, does no good. Sorry to be blunt, but you gotta learn somehow. :)
  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    OK then your going to need to dig back into the hill about 2'deep and I'm guessing here 3'1/2wide.Don't go streight up the hill but dig out more at an angle like a switchback a spread out( Z )
    Take the soil you dig out and set it in one pile aside.Now start from the top and work down the hill ,make sure you lay out your stones all along your switch back so you can easily reach them.Now install landscape beams or logs cut to fit each section of your stairs aqlong the sides and drill 3/4"holes thru them all in the same places 3 holes for each top /bottom and middle .Then after you put them in where you want them drive 1/2 to 3/4" lengths of Rebar about 2' or more long thru the holes to hold up the sides of your stairway.
    now take the soil you dug out and start building up little burms where your gonna set your stones,compact those as you go.Now add small crushed rock on top of you burms and compact and level that.Now set you stones on top of each burm and take a hand sledge a compact gravel all around each one useing the handle.work top down making sure each stone is dug back into the hill at least 6" or more before you compact around it. now do that all the way down the hill keeping the steps no farther than 2' space from one to th other with enough stone showing to put both of your feet on it at the same time with room front and back of you foot too.
    wet it down with a light spray to help compact it,then run up and down it to test and adjust where you need to.
  7. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    And that's the easy way.But not the exact proper way to do this job.
  8. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    I understood that he wanted to place large, flat, 6" thick slabs in the hill side???
  9. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    This is not rocket science here. First thing you will need is a small mini -x w/ a thumb, it will help you walk up and down that bank easier and it's easier to set the slabs with. You say your from south east so I'm assuming not much for frost problems which means you don't need much at all for base in this type of application. You can use either crushed gravel or crushed stone with fabric underneath your base, I've done it both ways. The advantage to the crushed stone is that it will move a little bit and allow you to shimmy the step around until it's at the right height, level etc. But both will work and hand tamp as you go. Start at the bottom so you can lay each step on top of the previous one a few inches. It makes no sense to start at top. In those pictures you supplied it's difficult to see how steep it really is and where your easiest path is going to be so you need to make that call. Sheshovel is right in saying you may need to go diagonaly so it's not as steep. You can also be creative and make the starirs make S curves so they're a bit more appealing. One concern I noticed is all those roots, are they from dead trees or are they all on existing live trees? Not a good thing to go ripping out roots like that. From the sounds of it your stone is very rough and natural. Don't try to fight them and make them perfect, it's not like working with lumber. Keep things level side to side and each tread tilted forward a bit to allow for water to flow off the front instead of getting trapped in the back. When you're done spread soil on the sides to blend the grade out so it transitions better. I've done hundreds of these and there's nothing to them. As far as liability with them the client needs to understand that stone is not perfect and may have imperfections. You mentioned some pieces might be only 4" thick. A 4" compared to a 6" step is quite a bit so get yourself some shims that match so you can lift the smaller ones to get them within a half inch either way of 6inches. Post a pic when you're done
  10. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    Alright thanks for all the advice. I am going to get some crush and run. Do yall think I need to rent a compactor? I have it factored in the price. I really wanted to rent something to dig into the soil, but I just wasn't sure what exactly so I guess we are going to be using hand tools. Again thanks for all the advise that gives me a little heads up on what to do.

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