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I want to build a set of natural stone steps and walkway. The location is in Ottawa, Ontario Canada (frost at 5'). The terrain is relatively steep and sloping away from the house. There is a fair bit of water moving through the soil in the spring and fall from the higher ground behind the house. My approach was to excavate 12", add 6" of coarse gravel in 2" lifts tamping it as i go. lay 2" rigid insulation. form and pour 4" of concrete, reinforced with screen. Lay flagstone (treads and walkway) and wall stone (risers) on concrete pad using hard mortar and point flush. There would be a control joint between the stairs (32" rise = 4 steps), and every stretch of patio between steps (10' or so).

Should I lay extra drainage like big "O" in the gravel base or does my approach seem sound. Tear me apart - I can take it!

Mark
 

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walkway I would lay dry if you can. if you can excavate and do a true footing with a block base I would if cost or soil conditions prohibit I would do 16-18" excavation and 12" 3/4" stone that can free drain. make the base come out 6-12" larger then the pad. No drainage should be needed if soil slopes away. there should be footing drains below the steps anyway. 4" concrete pad just below grade or 6" if you can do it. most people will say to use granite steps or large slab if possible and dry laid so any movement will be "absorbed" in to the steps and huge movement can be repaired.
 
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