Stone Steps (Dry-Set) – RB Project #6.11

Hardscape · Written by Roger

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As with any “dry-set” stone construction it is critical that moisture does not collect underneath the work.  The area is excavated to the sub-base level, pitched slightly and compacted.  A gravel base footing is then added and that too is compacted. To the right you see stone mason Lester Szajna determining the height of the future stone steps.


To build stone steps like this in “dry-set” construction you’re basically following the same methodology to build a “dry-set” stone wall.  Alternatively, steps like these can be masonry constructed, i.e. on a concrete footing with cinder block construction and a stone veneer. We’ll look more closely at that type in another post. To the left is one set of stone steps completed (minus the bluestone treads) and the crew beginning a second set of steps.  The two sets of stairs will be connected by an “irregular pattern” stone landing.

Finished & “Floating”

The two sets of stone steps are complete (sans the bluestone treads) and appear to be floating in the earth slope.  Notice how the stonework continues from the face of each step riser to the sides of the stairway. This is important because boulders will be nestled next to the stairways to retain the earth, and portions of the stairway’s sides will be exposed.  I look forward to the boulder placement, grading and finished landscape – these phases will surely make the steps look “grounded” and like they belong.

Here’s the previous post for this project. And here’s the next.

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