In the April 2008 issue of This Old House magazine, editor Scott Omelianuk (Letters from This Old House, "The Oasis Out Back") is pictured in his backyard next to what appears to be typical two inch thick slate or bluestone, laid on edge to create a terrace for plantings.
I would like to try this on a small section in my back yard (30' wide by 4' tall). I'm going on the assumption it can't possibly be as easy as it looks:
1. Purchase the stone in uniform sizes
2. Dig a trench (or 3)
3. Lay the stone on edge (tilted slightly in to the top of the hill) up to 1/3 the width of the stone
4. Backfill with soil
5. Plant colorful greenery and enjoy your new creation
Frankly, my preference would be a classic New England slate wall (same slate laid horizontally), but this approach seems both significantly less expensive and much less time consuming (an important point as I now spend most of my spare time chasing a 3 year old around the yard).
Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated!