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Gardening can be very physical. That's part of the fun. Can I work with stone to make walls and steps safely? What should I watch out for?

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Did this really need to be 5 separate questions? –  DA. May 28 '12 at 17:58
    
@DA Seems fine to me... it's not too granular, yet is a reasonably scoped question with a good title that people will search for. –  Lorem Ipsum May 28 '12 at 17:59

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Safety, it's not just for other people! I have made a few mistakes that you can avoid with these simple steps.

  • do some stretches before you start moving a few tons of stone. Your back will thank you!
  • if it's hot: drink water. If you are water deprived you will feel tired and are more prone to make mistakes
  • if you have to work in the hot part of the season start work early and take a siesta in the afternoon. Tell your significant other you are "recharging".
  • wear safety shoes with a reinforced toe. The embarrassment of dropping a piece of flagstone on your toe is worse than the pain
  • if you pick up a hammer or circular saw then you need to wear goggles. No exceptions! Stone chips can fly anywhere. Getting a tiny chip in my eye once was enough to convince me.
  • working with stone is dusty. Work pants are better than shorts as they add protection and catch some of it. Good idea to get the person who does the laundry on board with the idea that you will be coming back in the house with clothes that should be washed separately!
  • stone is rough on your hands. If you're at it all day wear gloves when possible. I coat my hands with a wax compound at the start of the day.
  • when cutting stone with a saw have a garden hose nearby to wet down the stone and nearby surfaces.
  • There is no need to walk like a stork after a day on your knees. Wear knee pads! Yes, they're hot, yes, they can be bulky but they are lot cheaper than arthroscopic surgery!
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