- Can I do this safely and economically by myself?
- What skills do I need to build using natural stone?
- What's better about doing it yourself? Why wouldn't I hire a contractor?
- What do I need to know before I start?
You can build your own steps using flagstone, some simple tools and your planning and labour.
While this is not a beginner project, with preparation you can have the satisfaction of doing a great safe job that a contractor would charge thousands of dollars for. Be prepared to invest some time in thinking before you start digging. Here are some of the issues to consider:
- what kind of soil do you have: clay, sand, soil or whatever the builder left behind? Compacted clay soil can support stone laid directly on top. Sandy soil offers very little frost heave and no support for stone.
- measurements: the length and height, width of the area
- transition areas, top, bottom sides: how will you deal with these areas?
- what is the amount of rainfall and frost heaving in your area?
- how will you dispose of the soil? I needed a 40 yard dump bin.
- what kind of traffic: just foot traffic, lawnmowers?, wheelbarrows? skiers?
- what kind of style: formal characterized by a symmetric design, more straight lines or informal, rustic?
- many areas have bylaws regarding steps and they have them for safety reasons. Investigate whether you need handrails and other best practices.
- Utilities: gas, phone, cable. Call before you dig and get them marked.
See related material here
- Tools you need
- Working safely
- Step by step with pictures and diagrams
- A finished project and more tips
Here is a "before" picture of the slope I had to deal with