Stunning stairs

Steps add functional charm to a Denver yard
Colleen Smith

A stairway climbs a slope that connects the front and backyards of Annie and Scott Huston's Denver home. To build it, Scott used tumbled flagstones, which are rolled in a large drum to soften jagged edges and impart a handsome aged appearance. Relatively new to the market, the tumbled stones come in several tones ranging from buff to red (shown).

The dry-stacked stairway rests on a layer of large foundation stones. The 3-inch-thick slabs were double-stacked to form 6-inch risers and then anchored to retaining walls on the sides by overlapping layers, providing mutual support for both. The result is a sturdy structure that's unfazed by the freeze-and-thaw cycles that cause mortar to crumble.