Outdoor Steps Design
If your property has any type of slope or you build an elevated structure like a deck or patio, an outdoor staircase or steps is usually necessary to access all parts of your yard. While steps or stairs are a functional landscape item, there are a variety of designs and styles to consider. When trying to choose, examine your property’s terrain and where you plan to place the steps to ensure the right fit for your yard.
Outdoor steps design for your deck, patio or garden
If you wish to fully incorporate your exterior staircase into your landscape, a set of earthen tread steps may be an ideal option. This staircase design uses wooden boards or logs that are set on edge on a sloping portion of your property. Place the risers by digging into the hill so that the soil itself serves as the tread. Metal spikes or stakes hold the risers in place to ensure that the staircase is stable enough for use. Depending on the angle of your hill, you may need to vary the slope of the treads to create a functional staircase.
For a simple staircase design, install stepping-stone steps in your yard. These stairs are comprised of small “stepping-stones” that are made from natural stone, wood or concrete and are inserted into a slope on your property. Stepping-stone stairs have a casual, natural look that fits well in an English style garden or other rustic landscape design. Because no base is used for this type of staircase, you must ensure that the soil is stable enough to support the stepping-stones. The steps require regular maintenance to ensure that the stones do not come loose and make the staircase unstable.
Deck stairs are another common type of exterior staircase. They are connected to a deck and are made from the same material as the structure, which means they are usually made of wood. Most deck stairs feature a simple design, but the risers are typically enclosed for a more finished, formal look. They also have handrails to provide additional safety when going up and down the stairs. Deck stairs may contain just a few steps or a longer span to provide access to an elevated or second-story deck.
The most durable, sturdy type of outdoor staircase design is a one-piece step setup. The stairs are made from thick stone slabs that serve as the risers and treads. Depending on the slope of your yard, the treads may require one to two stones while several slabs are used for the risers. Most one-piece staircases are dry-laid, but the process is very difficult and time consuming, so you may not want to tackle the project yourself.
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