How to Build Timber Retaining Wall Steps

What You'll Need
Tape measure
Spirit level
Trowel or shovel

If you want to get the best from your timber retaining wall,  then you might want to add a series of steps. These can either be large steps, which will allow you to sit down and enjoy your garden, or smaller steps which are simply a way of getting up and down the different levels. Creating some steps for your timber retaining wall will allow you to keep the height of your landscaped area without having to sacrifice access. Making timber steps for a retaining wall is not too difficult, and you should be find a suitable wood which will help in your attempts to keep the landscaped area free from erosion or earth slides.

Step 1 - Prepare the Area

Begin by working out the area that you need to cover with the steps. Each of the steps should be about 8 or 9 feet wide, with the riser about 5 inches high. The tread can be as deep as you like, depending upon whether you would like a small series of steps, or a few much larger levels which could also serve as patio areas. You should then cut out enough of the earth to cover the width of the steps.

Step 2 - Cut the Timber

When making the steps for your timber retaining wall, either have several pieces of lumber left from your original wall, or buy wood of a similar make and cut. Using your saw, cut out some lengths of wood to 8 feet. You should also cut some wood to be the base of the riser. These will need to be the same width as each other, so that you can easily nail the two pieces together.

Step 3 - Make the First Step

Taking your trowel, cut out the earth of your landscape. Starting 5 inches high, cut away enough earth to fit the depth of the tread, and then push the first tread timber into place. Add the riser just below it, and then nail these together using your hammer. There should be a nail at either end of the step, and two in the middle to secure it.

Step 4 - Adding the Other Steps

Continue to make the steps in this way, by removing the earth 5 inches above the last step. You should then place the treads over the cut earth, and push the riser in beneath this. Hammer them together to make the perfect step. You can also nail the risers to the top of the lower tread, using the same methods, driving the nails deep enough to hit the wood and be secured in the earth below.

Step 5 - Adding Other Timber

When you have finished the steps, you will need to shore up the sides of the wood using additional planks. Cut these into the correct size for your steps, and then nail them to the edges of the risers. You can also create some posts, which will be nailed to the backs of these side boards, and can be combined with narrow lengths of wood to form hand rails for your steps.